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Become A Nursing Home Aide

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Working As A Nursing Home Aide

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • $24,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Nursing Home Aide Do

Home health aides help people with disabilities, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment with activities of daily living. They often help older adults who need assistance. In some states, home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.

Duties

Home health aides typically do the following:

  • Assist clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing
  • Provide basic health-related services according to a client’s needs, such as checking vital signs or administering prescribed medication at scheduled times
  • Do light housekeeping, such as laundry, washing dishes, and vacuuming in a client’s home
  • Help to organize a client’s schedule and plan appointments
  • Arrange transportation to doctors’ offices or for other kinds of outings
  • Shop for groceries and prepare meals to meet a client’s dietary specifications
  • Help to keep clients engaged in their social networks and communities

Home health aides, unlike personal care aides, typically work for certified home health or hospice agencies that receive government funding and therefore must comply with regulations. They work under the direct supervision of medical professionals, usually nurses. These aides keep records of services performed and of clients’ conditions and progress. They report changes in clients’ conditions to supervisors or case managers. Home health aides also work with therapists and other medical staff.

Depending on their clients’ needs, home health aides may provide some basic health-related services, such as checking a client’s pulse, temperature, and respiration rate. They may also help with simple prescribed exercises and or with giving medications. Occasionally, they change bandages or dressings, give massages, care for skin, or help with braces and artificial limbs. With special training, experienced home health aides also may help with medical equipment such as ventilators, which help clients breathe.

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How To Become A Nursing Home Aide

There is no formal education requirement for home health aides, but most aides have at least a high school diploma. Home health aides who work for certified home health or hospice agencies must complete formal training and pass a standardized test.

Education

Although a high school diploma or equivalent is not generally required, most home health aides have one before entering the occupation. Some formal education programs may be available from community colleges or vocational schools.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Home health aides who work for agencies that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid must get a minimum level of training and pass a competency evaluation to be certified. Training typically includes learning about personal hygiene, reading and recording vital signs, infection control, and basic nutrition. Aides may take a competency exam to become certified without taking any training.

Additional requirements for certification vary by state. In some states, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which employers generally provide. Other states require formal training, which is available from community colleges, vocational schools, elder care programs, and home healthcare agencies. In addition, states may conduct background checks on prospective aides. For specific state requirements, contact the state’s health board.

In addition, many home health aides may be required to obtain CPR certification.

Training

Home health aides may be trained in housekeeping tasks, such as cooking for clients who have special dietary needs. Aides learn basic safety techniques, including how to respond in an emergency. Specific training may be needed for certification if state certification is required.

In addition, clients have their own preferences, and aides may need time to become comfortable working with them.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Home health aides must adhere to specific rules and protocols to help take care of clients. Aides must carefully follow instructions from healthcare professionals, such as how to care for a client’s wound or how to identify changes in a client’s condition.

Integrity. Home health aides should make clients feel comfortable when they tend to personal activities, such as helping a client bathe. In addition, home health aides must be dependable and trustworthy so that clients and their families can rely on them.

Interpersonal skills. Home health aides must work closely with their clients. Sometimes, clients are in extreme pain or distress, and aides must be sensitive to their emotions. Aides must be compassionate, and they must enjoy helping people.

Physical stamina. Home health aides should be comfortable performing physical tasks. They might need to lift or turn clients.

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Average Length of Employment
Home Attendant 3.5 years
Psychiatric Aide 3.5 years
Nursing Home Aide 3.0 years
Home Health Care 2.7 years
Home Health Aid 2.6 years
Group Home Worker 2.6 years
Health Aide 2.5 years
Nurses' Aide 2.5 years
Residential Aide 2.2 years
Home Help Aide 2.1 years
Resident Aide 1.6 years
Hospitality Aide 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Nursing Home Aide
Cashier 18.5%
Nurses' Aide 12.1%
Server 3.9%
Internship 3.4%
Volunteer 3.0%
Teacher 2.6%
Clerk 2.2%
Supervisor 2.2%
Top Careers After Nursing Home Aide
Cashier 8.9%
Waitress 2.6%
Aide 2.6%
Cook 2.2%
Server 2.2%

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Top Skills for A Nursing Home Aide

  1. Personal Care
  2. Vital Signs
  3. Independent Living
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide non-medical personal care and supportive services.
  • Perform nursing duties, such as administering medications, measuring vital signs, collecting specimens, or drawing blood samples.
  • Assisted elderly patients in improving independent living skills and mobility in their homes.
  • Assisted with basic patient care activities and with procedures ordered by physician and supervised by a registered nurse (RN).
  • Utilized communication skills and empathetic nature to develop a trusting relationship and companionship.

Nursing Home Aide Demographics

Gender

Female

73.7%

Unknown

14.6%

Male

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

French

60.0%

Spanish

40.0%

Nursing Home Aide Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.6%

Ashford University

8.9%

Rockingham Community College

5.4%

Leeward Community College

5.4%

Kaplan University

5.4%

University of Texas at Austin

5.4%

Jones County Junior College

3.6%

Boricua College

3.6%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.6%

Community College of Beaver County

3.6%

Temple University

3.6%

Butler County Community College

3.6%

Southern Connecticut State University

3.6%

Community College of Philadelphia

3.6%

Arlington Career Institute

3.6%

Nassau Community College

3.6%

Mercy School of Nursing

3.6%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

3.6%

Quinsigamond Community College

3.6%

State University of New York Empire State College

3.6%
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Majors

Nursing

33.0%

Health Care Administration

7.7%

Business

7.2%

Psychology

5.7%

Criminal Justice

5.7%

Medical Assisting Services

4.1%

Nursing Assistants

4.1%

General Studies

4.1%

Liberal Arts

4.1%

Pharmacy

3.6%

Human Services

3.1%

Biology

2.6%

Social Work

2.6%

Education

2.6%

Health Sciences And Services

2.1%

Finance

1.5%

Human Development

1.5%

Computer Networking

1.5%

Early Childhood Education

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

36.0%

Bachelors

23.2%

Associate

21.0%

Masters

6.4%

Certificate

6.4%

Diploma

3.4%

License

3.0%

Doctorate

0.7%
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