Home health services provide support for clients living in their homes. This care may be long or short term. The three main types of home health services are personal care, homemaking and health assistance. Home health care agencies typically hire care aides to provide services to clients.
Health care aides provide medical-related services such as taking blood samples to the lab and administering medications. They may also check a client's blood pressure or pulse. Health care aides usually report to a registered nurse or physical therapist. Aides are required to take note of the client's progress and submit this information on forms to the home health care agency. They must also be sure to report any changes in a client's condition.
Homemaking care duties are non-medical home health services provided for the elderly or for mentally or physically disabled people. These services vary widely depending on the individual's needs. Laundry and house cleaning are commonly provided by home support workers. Yard maintenance and meal preparation are other home services that help people with health problems maintain everyday chores so they can remain in their homes. Homemaker aides usually receive instruction on housekeeping and cooking by home service agencies before being sent to work in clients' homes.
Personal home care aides help clients with tasks such as bathing, dressing, toileting and feeding. They may also drive clients to doctor's or other appointments as well as run errands and buy groceries. A personal home care aide may report to a social worker responsible for arranging home health services for clients who need assistance. A personal care aide may also do tasks such as change bedding and launder clothing.
Aides who provide any of the different home health services must usually pass a criminal background check. Their driving records are also usually checked. Care aides may be required to pass safety courses so they are prepared to handle medical emergencies that could occur in a client's home.
Psychological support is an important part of home health care services. Being a good listener and companion as well as a care aide can help a client greatly in many cases. Many home health care agencies train aides in client communication standards. Aides who provide home care services are usually responsible for their own transportation, but an agency may pay for the fuel costs. An aide may work long term for one home-based client or for many clients on a part-time basis.