July 18, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
As a home care assistant you would typically work in private homes helping patients with daily tasks such as personal care and preparing meals. Your main responsibility is to make your patients’ lives easier and more comfortable. This may include checking the patients’ vital signs, giving them their medications, transporting them to doctor’s appointments, changing dressings and applying lotion to dry skin. Depending on the condition of the patient, actual feeding may be necessary.
A home care assistant is usually also expected to do some light, general housekeeping work such as meal preparation, doing the laundry, making the beds or running errands. Home care assistants also help with getting patients into the bath or shower as well as to and from the toilet. It is also often necessary to lift and turn bed-ridden clients regularly to prevent bedsores and to change a patient’s adult diaper if they are bed-bound.
You will usually work alone with your clients in this role, which means you need to be strong and physically fit so you can lift patients into and out of their beds, chairs or bathtubs. Lifting devices and other care and assistance facilities found in hospitals are seldom found in patients’ homes.
Not only do assistants help their clients physically, but they often offer psychological help too. In the course of doing your job, you will also be providing your client with much-needed companionship and will often find yourself listening to the problems or concerns they need to talk about. More often than not, home care assistants end up working with the same client for several years and forming a bond with such a patient is not unusual.
Home care assistants are not the same as home health aides. Although there are some similarities in the job duties, home health aides typically work for certified agencies or government-funded hospices. They do not work in private homes. Home health aides work under the supervision of a nurse or other medical professional, while home care assistants can be supervised by managers who may or may not hold a medical or nursing degree.
Training programs for home healthcare providers are offered through city vocational colleges or community-based organisations.
The prerequisites for registering with a home care assistant training program are minimal. A high school diploma is not a mandatory requirement but having this basic credential can be an advantage if you have plans on moving on to some other career later on.
As a nursing assistant, you may not find too many advancement opportunities for home care assistants. However, you can undergo further training to go on to a career as a nursing assistant or even an RN (registered nurse