How Do You Know if You Need a Home Health Care Aide?

Author: Sarah Williams

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

You know you need a home health care aide if you have medical issues requiring professional attention but don’t need to stay in a hospital or long-term care facility. Generally, your doctor prescribes home health care services after an injury, illness or operation to allow you to recover at home. You can also privately contract with a home health agency, although public funding only covers medically necessary services.

Home Health Care Services

Home health care agencies use a range of medical professionals to deliver intermittent medical support on a visiting basis. Service provision is generally temporary, providing care that enables an individual to regain their health safely, in the comfort of their home.  

In addition to home health care aides, multidisciplinary home health care teams typically include nurses, dietitians, medical social workers and rehabilitation specialists, such as physical, occupational and speech-language therapists.

Home Health Care Aide Responsibilities

Home health care aides, also known as certified nursing assistants, follow personalized care plans to deliver basic medical services in a senior’s home. Per national legislation, aides must have at least 75 hours of professional training and regular ongoing supervision and training. However, state legislation sometimes requires even more education. Aide duties vary depending on state regulations and any additional training but might include:

  • Administering prescribed medications
  • Drawing blood
  • Supporting individuals with personal care tasks, such as bathing and brushing their teeth
  • Changing wound dressings
  • Changing incontinence briefs
  • Helping seniors complete basic exercises and stretches
  • Recording vital information, such as temperature and blood pressure
  • Monitoring an individual’s health
  • Setting up medical equipment
  • Educating and counseling seniors and their families

Home health care aides aren’t the same as nonmedical home care aides. While the former perform medical duties, the latter provide nonmedical support in a person’s home, such as assisting with activities of daily living and providing companionship.