Home Health Aides: the front line of home care
Perhaps the most spot-on front line in home health care is that held up by our home health aides. These caregivers are often the very support system helping people to remain in their homes safely and sometimes longer than otherwise possible. From assisting with basic daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating, to providing much needed companionship and encouragement, the home health aide is crucial to one’s safety and viability in the home.
Indeed, we have received countless letters from family members commending our home health aides and acknowledging their roles in keeping their loved ones safe and secure at home. “Peace of mind” is commonly quoted throughout these thank you notes.
Home health aides play an integral role in a patient’s recovery and are valued members of the multi-disciplinary team charged with the patient’s care. For example, working with the occupational therapist, the home health aide helps patients meet their goals of returning to normal day activities as simple as taking a shower again. Similarly, the home health aide is guided by the physical therapist to ensure safe ambulation within the home.
In many cases, the home health aide is the constant in the patient’s world. In fact, when asked after discharge from care how a patient rates the services received, it’s more often than not the home health aide that the patient credits with their recovery. With no slight to the other disciplines in the case, it is the home health aide who often has the most personal effect on the patient.
Many of our home health aides have taken extra steps to enhance their skills and expertise. While all Home Health Aides at our agency are certified per Medicare requirements, many have gone on further to received specialized certification in such areas as Alzheimer’s care and hospice and palliative care.
As long as a person is under the care of a home care nurse or physical therapist, Medicare will pay for the home health aide during the covered episode of care. But sometimes, people want to keep the home health aide on after the Medicare benefit ends. In this case, private pay home health aides can be employed.
At NVNA and Hospice, we have a non-profit, private pay division called NVNA Works. Services here include home health aides, companion care, and homemaker services. For more information on this area of home care, please reach out to NVNA Works at 781-871-1040.