Today, more older adults are choosing to age in place and remain in the comfort of home than ever before. But maintaining independence can look different as we age and many people begin to realize that performing everyday tasks is no longer as easy as it once was. This is where the critical role of home health aides can benefit home health and hospice patients. However, you may find yourself wondering ‘what does a home health aide do’?
Home health aides are a key member of a patient’s home health or hospice team as they keep patients safe and healthy, prevent hospitalizations and help improve quality of life through the essential tasks shown below.
A home health aide provides…
Support for skilled care from home health nurses
Home health aides are able to assist in patient care under the direction of a registered nurse. This includes taking and recording vital signs.
In between skilled visits, aides serve as the protective eyes and ears of the rest of the interdisciplinary team by monitoring and tracking any important changes in their patients. If they notice a change in the patient’s condition, they document it and then consult the nurse or primary care physician to ensure the patient receives the right care, at the right time.
Aides also assist in patient education, which is a critical component of helping patients maintain a level of independence. They are able to provide guidance and support on topics such as proper nutrition and medication management, and even help patients with exercises approved by other members of their care team.
Assistance with activities of daily living
One of the main roles of a home health aide is to assist patients with activities of daily living. This can include personal care such as bathing, grooming or dressing.
Home health aides can also help patients and caregivers with light housekeeping duties, such as laundry or food preparation. They can also help patients safely move out of bed or transfer to and from a wheelchair to ensure they can remain safe at home.
Due the nature of the role, home health aides often become a trusted, reliable and familiar presence to patients and their families. In addition to the care they provide, they often provide much-needed emotional support to patients and caregivers by simply being an ear to listen.
In hospice care especially, aides ensure patients receive personal, hands-on care so they can enjoy dignity and quality of life while facing a terminal illness. Having the companionship of hospice aides can also help alleviate feelings of isolation and depression that can be common at the end of life.
Providing critical care, along with smiles and laughs, is incredibly powerful among patients and caregivers. Not only do home health aides get to know their patients, but they get to know their families as well, often leaving a lasting impact on those they serve.
While the role of a home health aide can be challenging and different every day, aides are able to provide compassionate care and support to help patients safely age in place and improve their quality of life.
At Enhabit our patients are our number one priority. From providing the latest medical practices to building deep personal connections, we’re focused on upholding every patient’s dignity, humanity and sense of control on their health care journey.
Our home health services give patients access to the care they deserve in the comfort of their own homes. From disease and injury management to recovery from surgery, our clinicians help patients confidently achieve their healthcare goals.
Our hospice care services place importance on the comfort of every patient living with a terminal illness. Our caring professionals are dedicated to providing not just physical care, but spiritual and emotional support to every patient and their loved ones.