Home health care workers provide vital services to senior citizens and to other people who desperately need flexible and affordable care. Through professional and fully individualized home healthcare services, vulnerable people can enjoy the highest possible quality of life. Indeed, in-home services have helped millions of patients all around the country.
There is a huge demand for qualified home health workers. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing sectors in the American economy— the home health care industry is expected to grow nearly six times faster than the broader U.S. economy over the next decade (Salsberg, 2018). Are you considering a career as a home health care employee? Here is an overview of the most desired jobs in the industry.
Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
Nurses are trained medical professionals that help to provide much needed care and support to the injured and infirm. Registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) make up an important part of the home health care industry. In many ways, nurses form the foundation of the industry. They make sure that vulnerable people are able to get effective, reliable in-home medical care that actually protects their health and safety. In some cases, patients receive care in their home from a private duty nurse on a regular basis, potentially even a full-time basis. Some of the specific home health care duties of RNs and LPNs include:
- Professional medical assessments;
- Wound treatment/care;
- Medication management;
- G-tube and Nutritional Support
- Cancer care; and
- Palliative care.
Notably, the demand for private duty nurses and in-home nurses has grown dramatically over the past two decades—and there is no sign that this trend is slowing down. Some researchers have determined that public policy reforms, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), have increased the amount of nursing jobs available in home health care (Spetz, 2016).
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) / Home Health Aides (HHA)
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Home Health Aides (HHAs) also form an essential part of virtually every home health care team. As a general rule, CNAs and HHAs are licensed at the state level. While the requirements do vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the standards are broadly the same throughout the country. Nursing assistants and home health aides are required to undergo professional medical training and pass examinations in order to practice in the industry. CNAs and HHAs help to assist patients with activities of daily living (ADLs). Among other things, these services can include:
- Help with medication;
- Nutritional assistance;
- Toileting; and
- Health monitoring.
CNAs and HHAs are trained in both recording their observations regarding a patient’s condition and performing actual procedures on a patient. Should serious medical assistance be required, a CNA or HHA can be able to bring in a licensed nurse, a doctor, or another medical specialist. They can help to make sure that a senior citizen or disabled person gets the ongoing care and attention that they deserve.
Non-Certified Personal Health Care Aides
Finally, it is important to recognize that not all home health professionals are licensed or certified. Non-certified personal care aides make up a very important part of the treatment plan for many patients. Without their support, many elderly and vulnerable people would not be able to enjoy nearly as high an overall quality of life.
Often, you will hear this home health care professionals referred to as personal care aides or, more simply, home helpers. Typically, they perform tasks that are not, strictly speaking, medical in nature. Though, to be clear, these are still tasks that a patient may not be able to do on their own as a result of their medical condition. For example, non-certified personal care aides often take care of housekeeping and meal preparation.