Become a more effective caretaker for your patients
Home health aides provide essential care for their patients in their homes. Their role requires them to help feed, bathe, clothe, and sometimes transport patients who are elderly or who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. These aides are crucial for the everyday care of their patients.
If you’re currently enrolled in a home health aide training program, you may be wondering what it’s like to work in the field. It’s normal to be nervous before you start your first job. You may be scared you’ll make a mistake or that you’ll forget something on the job. Don’t worry if you have questions in the beginning of your career. As a home health aide you can phone your supervisor if you ever have a problem or question. With time, you’ll get the hang of the job. Plus, undergoing an externship before you graduate can help you discover what a professional home health aide career is like. What’s most important is to show your patients, their families, and your supervisors that you’re dedicated and putting the most effort possible into your job.
The Harris Casel Institute offers you these four tips to become a better home health aide:
1. Write it down
When you begin a new job, there may be a lot of rules, guidelines, and facts you need to know about the job and your new patients. Write down important details that you need to know so you don’t forget an important caregiving step. Each day you may be learning a lot. Write down reminders, tasks, appointments and even questions you may have about the job. You can carry a small notebook or pen to jot down notes or use your phone to set alerts. Taking notes is a great way to make sure you are adhering to caregiving standards and that you don’t forget something a patient may need.
2. Organize your day
A home health aide can be busy attending to a patient throughout the day. If you have several demands at once, you may want to organize your day. Start by using these efficiency tips:
- Plan out your day ten to fifteen minutes before your shift starts. Look at the tasks you have for that day and put them in order from highest priority to lowest priority. If possible, group tasks together to save time.
- Organize what items you will need at certain times. Make sure you have all the essentials in the correct spot. If there’s an emergency and you need bandages, make sure you have easy access to the materials.
- Prepare to bring all the items you will need. Make sure you have your thermometer, blood pressure kit, first aid, extra bandages, and any other products you need to care for your particular patient.
- Bring a large bag to carry your supplies in. Some home health aides carry fanny packs or carriers they can strap to their bodies. In case they need supplies in an emergency, they can have it all in one place.
3. Go out of your way for patients
Patients are dependent on you for care. If you’re caring for a patient who can’t feed or bathe themselves, remember to be patient and respectful of their needs. Some patients may feel sad or frustrated so remember to support them if needed. Always be kind to your patients. Before you start your chores, let them know what you’re doing. Check-in with them to see if they need anything. You may be the only person they see during the day, so make sure to converse with them. Sometimes patients can be lonely for company, so it’s nice to provide both emotional and physical care. Spend time watching TV or reading a book to your patient. It’s professional to remain close by at all hours of your shift in case your patient needs your assistance at a moment’s notice.
4. Be receptive
Make sure you are in tune with your patient’s status. Observing your patients symptoms and asking them questions can help you care for your patients better. During your externship, you can learn how to listen and examine patients’ needs. At your externship you should:
- Watch and learn how supervisors care for patients. Get advice on the best and most efficient practices.
- Learn about your patients. Read your patients’ charts and examine their care plans. You want to prepare for the specific services you need to provide for them. If there is a procedure you need help with, ask your supervisor to assist you.
- Before your shift, find out what is expected from you that day. Ask what your patient needs and what are the most crucial aspects of the care plan. Take notes!
- Record your completed tasks for the day. Remember to include updates on your patient’s health status.
We hope these four tips help you develop the tools you need to go above and beyond at your externship and in your professional home health aide career. These tips can help you become more caring, efficient, and knowledgeable on home health care. We wish you the best of luck!
The Harris Casel Institute offers a home health aide program along with several other healthcare training programs at our campus in Melbourne, Florida. For more information regarding our programs or services, contact us today!