Updated: May 5
Article May 2, 2022
What is a Home Health Aid?
With all the love, patience, tenderness, and kindness, an HHA promotes healing. They are CNA’s with additional certification that allows them to work from the patient’s home.
A home health aid is someone who assists others with activities of daily living at home. Home Health Aids generally provide assistance to the elderly, ill, or disabled persons. Some HHA responsibilities include: bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, and sometimes providing transportation. The HHA monitors the patient's condition and reports to their charge nurse or supervising nurse.
There are restrictions to working as an HHA. For example, the HHA are not allowed to issue medication, mix medicines, fill up medication boxes, and give medical advice. However, each US state has their own rules for what an HHA is and is not allowed to do. Even some Home Care Aids may sometimes be delegated to assist with insulin injections.
HHA’s are asked to provide light household duties, but not housekeeping tasks. Some HHA tasks may also include: grocery shopping, picking up the mail, walking the dog, feeding pets, cooking, and laundry. For example, if the patient’s clothes become soiled it is a health risk to leave them soiled; therefore the HHA should wash the soiled clothes. The HHA should assist with activities of daily living such as: brushing a client's teeth or dentures when it's time, and then putting the supplies back and keeping the place neat and tidy. And always hand over a to a client clean glasses.
Home Health Aids are different from Home Care Aids. For example, an HHA is allowed to transfer a patient with a hoyer lift. A hoyer lift is a mechanical device that requires special training. A Home Care Aid (when working for a home care company) is not trained or insured by the company they work for to operate a hoyer device. Most states won't allow a general Home Care Aid to perform a pivot transfer assist without a CNA license.
Many states won't allow a Home Care Aid to provide direct contact care without a CNA license. For example, a Home Care Aid might be asked to just standby while the client bathes and grooms themselves. A CNA/HHA would be allowed to provide full bathing assistance. A Home Care Aid and a CNA/HHA can help the patient make their beds and start breakfast. A Home Care Aid can help pick out clothes for a client, but a CNA/HHA is allowed to dress fully them. The CNA/HHA is granted all the responsibilities given to a Home Care Aid. As stated before, each US state has their own rules when it comes to HHA and HCA scope of practice. It’s best to check with an accredited nursing institution to see what an HHA or HCA can or cannot do in their state.
Why become a Home Health Aid?
HHA’s are allowed more one-to-one care and are granted more time to spend with their patients. In a skilled nursing environment, the patients are not given as much one-on-one time. The staff is too busy because they have several patients who require assistance. At home, there are fewer environmental distractions that cause everyone stress. Patients feel more at peace where they can continue to live their lives as they choose without dealing with the restrictions of a facility. Do you enjoy going on walks, chatting, and playing puzzles? Good news, the clients do too. And they need your help to hold the phone to talk to their loved ones to say, “Hello”. And wrap presents (if their beliefs allow).
Interested in becoming an HHA?
Check out Bellevue Career College of Nursing. Located in sunny Southern California, HHA classes are currently Monday through Friday and run on a 40-hour week schedule. Send us an email, or call us. Check out the calendar online for future dates. Bellevue not only offers HHA certification, but they also offer CNA courses, Con’t Education Credits, Neonatal Resuscitation Provider, and IV Certification and Blood Withdraw. Interested to learn more, inquire with us.