Starting your career in any industry can be hard. But making a start in a super-competitive industry such as the home healthcare industry is even harder. You have to figure out what to learn, what certifications to get, whom to target as clients, and how to manage your home healthcare services. Researching this can be very time-consuming. That’s why I’ve put together a list of ten things you need to know as a new home healthcare aide.
1. Some US states pay home healthcare aides better
States such as Massachusetts and Minnesota spend more on home healthcare than South Dakota or Nebraska. In some states, this is because the cost of living is high and the home healthcare aides are paid more to cover costs. But either way, it makes sense to survey your earning potential before setting-up your home healthcare business.
2. Certified home healthcare aides earn more than those who are not certified
Home healthcare aides who have undergone certain training typically earn more than those who have not. The basic training suggested for home healthcare aides is the certification offered by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). This training involves about 75 hours of practical work and a comprehensive, written home healthcare exam. Those who complete this certification can earn anywhere between $5-$15 more per hour than their counterparts.
3. You may have to be registered to work as a home healthcare aide
Depending on the state in which you are operating, you may require a Vocational Nurse license. You can research these requirements by contacting the state and local government or Medicaid offices. Many home healthcare aides work independently, but there are also those who work for agencies. If you work for an agency, you will be guided on all necessary legal requirements.
4. Malpractice and liability claims are a potential threat to your business
Both independent and agency-employed home healthcare aides may face malpractice or liability claims from patients. This could happen due to unavoidable negligence or accident. For instance, if you shatter a vase in your patient’s house, you may be expected to pay for its damages. You can protect your business from the damage of such claims by investing in liability insurance for home healthcare agencies.
5. Home healthcare aides have diverse responsibilities
A home healthcare aide’s job may not always be about medication management and nursing. Home healthcare aides are also expected to help with daily routines such as bathing, transport, and shopping. You may also be required to work with complex home healthcare equipment, depending on your patient’s condition. For instance, if your patient is suffering from cancer, you may be engaged to manage chemotherapy at home.
6. Home healthcare aides have diverse work schedules
Based on your patient’s condition, you may be engaged daily, weekly or monthly. This schedule also depends on the activities that you are responsible for. Sometimes, family members hire home healthcare aides to ensure that their loved ones have a companion when they are not around. You may be expected to watch a patient for a few hours when a client’s daughter deals with an emergency or completes her chores.
7. Home healthcare aides are sometimes required to work with medical equipment
If you are hired to monitor a geriatric patient after major surgery, you may have to monitor their vitals daily using BP, blood, and temperature monitors. If the patient has a respiratory disorder, you may be expected to manage oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, nebulizer, masks, and canulas. If the patient has a kidney disorder, you may need to perform dialysis. However, you are only required to execute these treatments as recommended by the patient’s doctor and not on your own judgment.
8. Empathy and people skills are a critical part of the home healthcare job
If you wish to establish yourself in a city as one of the best home healthcare aides, you have to work on your people skills. Talk your patient through procedures before performing them. Ask your patients about their lives away from the medical condition, so that you can bond with them. Building a rapport with a client is especially necessary in the case of psychiatric patients or Alzheimer’s patients who typically experience more mental unease than others.
Home healthcare is a great industry for a career. You can get started and establish yourself quickly, provided you follow the right strategies. The tips on this post are everything that you need to know as a new home healthcare aide.