Celebrating Our Home Health Aides

Guest post by Loretta Goggins RN, BSN, Home Health Resources, Inc., Houston, TX

Nurse holding hand of senior woman in pension homeNovember is Home Health Aides Appreciation Month, and in honor of this special month, I’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate the home health aides on our team!

Home health aides are an integral part of our home care team, working closely with the patient, families, nurses, and therapists to provide our patients with the very best. Much of the time they are only in the home short-term, while the patient’s needs are greatest. One of the challenges of this reality is that the home health aide needs to be skilled at caring for the patient, getting to know them, and helping them be comfortable in the given situation. They gracefully manage the difficult task of providing personal care for their patients, many of whom have never needed to depend on anyone else for this help, let alone from a total stranger.

As part of the healthcare team at our home health company, our aides work with patients that have a variety of needs. They follow the care plan set up by the admitting nurse and stay in contact with the patient’s case manager, especially if there is anything unusual to report or pertinent information to share.

HHQI University_logoOur home health aides strive to be the best that they can be in their role. They are always eager to gain more knowledge in order to improve themselves and the care they provide. This past summer we began taking advantage of the learning opportunities available to us through HHQI University. These classes are tailored specifically to the population that our home health aides serve. We have participated in courses to learn about the skills of skin observation, caring for the diabetic patient, and protecting our patients/ourselves during the flu/pneumonia season. Even our most “seasoned” home health aides have enthusiastically welcomed the additional education and have found these sessions valuable.

By just visiting with our home health aides, it’s easy to understand why they do such a good job and why they are so well liked by our patients and their families. When I recently asked one of our aides what she liked best about her job she initially said that it was difficult to pick any one thing, saying that “it depends, because it is different when working with a variety of patients.” Then her face lit up and she said, “One of the things that I like best about my job is that I can help patients feel good about themselves. It’s different for every patient so part of what I need to do is to figure out what each patient really wants. For one patient, it is just a good shower and shampoo. For another it may be to have help putting on makeup. Another patient may really enjoy having their hair set or someone else it is to have a good shave. I try to tap into that because I know that when you look better you feel better about yourself. When you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to feel good in general.”

WOW, what insight! That sums it up! Being a good home health aide takes such commitment. It is not an easy job. Our aides travel a lot, juggle patient preferences (times to be seen and more), and they work with and around the other disciplines involved in the patient’s care. Our aides get to know the patient and their family members really well, and they are always looking out for each patient’s safety and well-being. At the heart of the matter is that the home health aides “get it.” They understand what was stated above – the importance of helping patients feel good about themselves generally instills in them a sense of hope and motivation. Those that are more motivated generally try to take better care of their health. How awesome!

Home health aides are indeed a special group of people, with a special set of skills, doing a very important job. To say that they are invaluable is an understatement. We appreciate all that they do as we serve those that are entrusted to our care.

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