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A home health aide is a trained healthcare professional employed by the family members or friends of a patient in order to provide long-term assistance for the personal and health-related needs of a patient. The job is different from a registered nurse because he or she works only under the supervision and advice of a nurse or therapist who specializes in the condition of the patient. Usually, an aide’s services are required for months or years, or for as long as the patient is in need of direct assistance and supervision.

Caring For Seniors

From A Certified Home Health Aide Point Of View

One of the important skills that any home health aide must have is the ability to help with special skin care as well as dressing change (i.e. changing bandages). This is because you will often be working with patients who have severe injuries which require your constant diligence to ensure that they will not become infected or get worse. Here's what you need to know:

What Normal Skin Does

In a person with healthy skin, the skin performs a large number of important functions. It keeps the inside of the body healthy and free of infection by creating a protective outer layer over the inside of the body. It also helps to keep moisture in and keep the body cool during the summer heat by allowing sweat to come out form the glands of the body.

Problems with Skin

There are a large number of potential problems that your patients may face as a result of their skin being damaged in some way. These can range from simple infections to severe problems, including cancer and other kinds of deadly diseases.

Skin Tears

The most common skin problem is tears in the skin. This includes any kind of bruise where the skin is damaged in some way. This can be as simple as a small cut or scrape or it can be a major wound which exposed vital parts of the anatomy.

Moisture Issues

Another common problem that many of your patients may face when dealing with skin problems is a problem of moisture. Normal skin maintains a healthy amount of moisture while at the same not drowning the body in liquids. However, on some of your patients, you may find that they are dealing with cracked or dry skin which can cause lesions and other kinds of discomfort.

9. Remove the old dressing and clean the wound as needed.

10. Apply the new dressing to the wound.

11. Tape the new dressing in place and assist the client in putting his or her clothes back on.

12. Put away unused supplies and clean up the area, being careful to remove used dressings.

Precautions for Changing Dressings

When changing dressings for your home health care patients, it's important to realize that these are areas where opportunistic infections can easily enter into the body's blood stream. Therefore, there are a number of precautions which should be taken in order to minimize the possibility:

Be Sure to Keep the Area Clean

In addition to the precautions mentioned above, it's a good idea to clean the area where you will be working on changing the patient's dressings. This means removing dirt and, if working on the bed, ensuring that clean sheets are used.

Avoid Aggravating the Injury

Do not probe the injury when changing dressings as this can cause more problems. Simply record what you see in front of you and report this information to the doctor.

Be Prepared to Call for Help

If, in the process of changing dressings you find that the wound has grown significantly worse, or you find that the wound is beginning to bleed profusely, be prepared to contact emergency services and or the patients' attending doctor to help them ensure that they will not suffer further problems due to their injury.

Senior Day Care

A home health aide (HHA) provides caregiving services that allow patients to remain at home as opposed to being cared for in a medical facility. HHAs deliver basic caregiving services such as monitoring a patients' vital signs and medication schedule, preparing meals, personal grooming, light housekeeping, and companionship.

It can be a demanding job, and for that reason the turnover tends to be high. So why would you want to pursue such a career? Here are seven reasons this career may be right for you.

1. Job Growth

As baby boomers age, it is expected that more and more elderly will opt to "age in place," staying in their own homes, for as long as possible. This is driving demand for caregivers to deliver services in residential settings, assisted living environments, and adult day care programs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rates the job outlook for home health aides as "excellent." In fact, it's the second-fastest growing occupation in the U.S. (following that of registered nurses).

7. Make a Difference

And, finally, but most importantly, this career allows you to do work that makes a supreme difference in the lives of the people you serve. If you are a caring person who values the opportunity to help people live their lives with dignity -- this is perhaps the greatest reason to become a home health aide.

As you can see there are some strong reasons to consider becoming a home health aide. Clearly, it will not be right for everyone, but if these seven reasons strike a chord with you, be sure to learn more about this growing health care occupation.


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