You’re thinking about becoming a home health aide or HHA. So, what skills will help you excel in this role? Here are qualities that make for a great home health aide.
As a home health aide, you will be working with people who have disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments or age-related problems. Naturally, you will sympathize with their situations. However, to empathize, or to put yourself in their shoes is more powerful. This means internalizing what it might feel like to be confined to a wheelchair, to be struggling with dementia or to be in ongoing pain.
Sometimes even the most easy-going patients can become difficult. They may refuse to follow the doctor’s orders, argue, cry or get confused. Especially in these trying scenarios, you must remain calm, cool and collected.
Strong Communication Skills
For an HHA, strong communication skills are essential. To understand what your patient needs, you must be an excellent listener. This involves picking up on both verbal and nonverbal cues. In addition, you should be able to effectively relay information back and forth between doctors/patient, doctors/patient’s family, and patient/patient’s family.
A home health aide job will keep you busy. On any given day, you may find yourself fixing meals, doing housework, making appointments, and running errands. And you need to take care of your patient too. As a result, you must know how to both budget your time and prioritize tasks.
An HHA may face many challenges from a patient who doesn’t want to take medication to a leaky kitchen sink. You’ll need to be prepared to find creative, on-the-fly solutions as well as longer-term plans. For example, let’s say your patient is struggling to get into the bathtub. You may want to suggest appropriate options for them (or their family to explore) such as a transfer bench.
Both your patient and your patient’s family are counting on YOU. Thus, you must be there when they expect you to be there. This includes arriving and leaving on time and completing assigned duties. Of course, everyone gets sick or needs to take a day off now and again. But if this happens, let your client and their family know as soon as possible. That way they have a chance to make other plans.
Often patients require assistance with mobility. This may include getting into/out of bed, a wheelchair, the bathtub, and/or a car. Also, you may need to support your patient while they walk, climb stairs or get dressed. And other household chores, such as mopping, cleaning, carrying laundry, and making beds, involve physical effort too. Before accepting an assignment, check to make sure you are physically able to complete any necessary tasks.
Do You Think You Have What It Takes to Be a Great Home Health Aide?
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a home health aide, Anodyne Staffing Services is hiring! Our recruiters place HHA and caregivers in Quincy, Massachusetts, and beyond. Browse our available openings and discover your next great job today!