Becoming a home health aide can be tough since it typically requires some form of higher education; either a college degree, a high school diploma coupled with specialized training, or some combination of all three. Getting through the education can be an expensive venture for some, but the benefits of becoming a home health aide often outweigh the cost of training.
Once you’ve got the education under your belt, developing certain skills for home health aides is essential.
1. Time management
Arguably one of the most important skills is time management. Because you’re caring for another person in many essential ways, being on time and using your time wisely is key to maintaining both a happy work life and a happy client. Remember, being late as a home health aide could be very dangerous.
2. Attention to detail
Paying attention to even the smallest of details could be a big part of keeping your patient healthy. Small changes in behavior or attitude could mean something far more serious, so having a keen eye for the details is an important skill.
3. Interpersonal skills
Obviously, since you’re working with another human being on a daily basis, often for hours, you need to be able to empathize and interact with them in a way that’s both healthy (for you and for them) and respectfully. Home health aides often help patients who can no longer take care of themselves, so offering them some dignity in your work is important.
These types of jobs can often be thankless, depressing and hard to disconnect from after working hours are over. Try your best to remain positive, even if things aren’t going as well as they could; remember that it’s important to keep your work life and your personal life separate to avoid getting burnt out.
5. Physical strength and stamina
Sometimes your patient will require lifting, or you’ll have to move furniture or other heavy objects. Having a bit of physical strength never hurts, but stamina is also an important skill you should have as you’re constantly on the move. Visiting the gym on weekends or even taking jogs in the mornings can help you build strength and stamina.
Because you’re with your patient day in and day out, it can be tough to get some alone time or to take a break. Being patient with your client will help you stay calm and cool, even if you’re starting to feel the pressure of constantly being around another person.
7. Medical knowledge
You wouldn’t have this job if you weren’t trained or knowledgeable, but keeping up to date and taking refresher courses can also help you land higher paying jobs later. Consider updating your education every now and again to prepare for new opportunities should they arise.
Home health aides sometimes live with their patients; so keeping yourself and your surroundings clean is not only polite, it’s imperative to keeping your patient healthy. Even if you aren’t living with them, keeping an area tidy can help you get around quickly in case of an emergency.
Your patient isn’t always going to want to do as you say or recommend. It’s important that you be authoritative in matters concerning their health, but doing so in a kind and patient way can be tough for people to master. Practicing your authoritative side can help you later as you deal with more difficult or stubborn patients.
10. Communication skills
Above all, communication in this field is key. Knowing how to ask questions and get honest answers, which can be extremely important in judging the health of another person, can make or break you. Knowing how to talk to patients and build good relationships with them is essential to being a home health aide.
With these skills and the required education, landing a job as a home health aide can be an easy venture that leads to a really enjoyable career.