Here Are Eight Things You Need to Know About Home Health Care Workers
To get started learning about home health care workers, here are answers to common questions.
1. What Is a Home Health Worker?
Home health workers are:
- Licensed practical nurses
- Registered nurses
- Licensed nursing assistants
- Certified nursing assistants
- Home care aides
- Personal care aides
- Other health care professionals
These people provide various medical and daily-living services at the homes of their clients. They deliver care to the most vulnerable people in society. These parties might include the:
- Chronically ill
- Cognitively impaired (e.g., those with Alzheimer’s disease)
2. How Many People Work As Home Health Care Workers?
CNBC reports estimate 3.3 million home healthcare workers in the United States, serving 12 million vulnerable people.
3. Why do People Choose Home Health Care Workers Over Long-Term Care Facilities, Like Nursing Homes?
Many Americans 65 and older want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Most people want to live out their golden years in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, surrounded by friends and family.
Also, far too many nursing homes are driven by profit over resident safety, giving families an even greater incentive to avoid nursing homes for as long as possible. To do so, they need support and help with daily activities, especially as they decline in ability.
In the United States, our family support system gets smaller and farther away as we age, which creates the need for professionals who help us live in our homes safely.
4. How Has the Covid-19 Impacted Home Health Care Workers?
For starters, home health care workers risk their lives because they are essential workers who must come into close contact with the people they serve, making them continually at risk of acquiring COVID-19.
Like health care workers across the country, they have had a hard time acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, when supplies dwindled and prices skyrocketed. Unlike other health care professions, home health care workers often have to pay for their own PPE out of pocket.
Many families are just finding out just how important these workers are. The ravages of COVID-19 drove families to rescue their elderly relatives and bring them home from virus-infected nursing homes. Home health care workers are empowering families to make this possible.
Plus, many hospital patients have opted to recover from medical procedures at home rather than at the hospital, often requiring intensive professional help with their care. The home health care worker has perhaps never been more important.
5. Where Can I Find a Home Health Care Worker?
Home Health Compare is a great place to start when researching home health care agencies in the United States, offering detailed information on services, and patient ratings.
6. If You Value Your Independence, a Home Health Care Worker Could Be the Answer
You could stay out of the nursing home or delay moving into one with the assistance of a home health care worker. Trying to get by without needed assistance could lead to a broken hip from a fall or an undiagnosed medical condition. Also, getting help with things that have become a struggle could lift an enormous weight off of your shoulders.
When you have an impartial medical worker regularly visiting your home, they can notice symptoms that you or your loved ones might miss or dismiss as ordinary aging. The aide could correct tripping hazards like electrical cords that could put a senior in a wheelchair. The healthcare worker can organize your medications for you to prevent a dosage error.
7. Home Health Workers Can Do Much More Than You Might Realize
Some home health agencies offer services that could be a godsend for many people of all ages. For example, some agencies offer services like:
- Transportation to appointments and running errands like grocery shopping: Even if a senior can still drive reasonably well, it could be useful to have a home health worker accompany the individual to make sure the doctor learns about new developments in the person’s health and answers the person’s questions.
- Light housekeeping, like dishes, cleaning, and laundry: Many accidents in the home happen when performing these routine tasks.
- Respite care, to provide a break for exhausted caregivers who serve disabled family members young and old: Many people who serve as caregivers for a family member with special needs experience burnout. We would not expect an ICU nurse to be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, week after week, without a break.
- Preparing nutritional meals and assisting with eating and drinking: Poor nutrition and dehydration shorten the lives and decrease the quality of life of far too many people because they do not have the assistance they need.
- Companions and social activities: When a person does not have loved ones living nearby, they might suffer from isolation. Some agencies provide assistants who can spend time with a senior or disabled individual, just reading to the person, doing a jigsaw puzzle together, or going out for lunch.
With such a varied menu of services, you might want to consider engaging a home health provider when recuperating from an injury or medical procedure or if you have a loved one who is not aged but has minimal or moderate needs.
8. Home Health Care Costs Less Than You Might Think
Although you might be able to hire an aide who does not work through an agency for a little less money, it is unlikely that the person will have proper training, liability insurance, or a backup ready to step in when needed. Also, agencies usually do background checks on their job applicants.
Call Brown & Barron’s Nursing Home Abuse Legal Team
Our attorneys at Brown & Barron focus on representing nursing home residents who have been neglected or abused. We know firsthand how these facilities function and just how vulnerable residents are to injuries. If you or a family member suffered nursing home negligence, contact our team to learn more about your rights and options.
To learn more about how the coronavirus is affecting nursing homes and their residents, visit our COVID Resource Center. Contact our team today for a consultation.