Hospice Home Health Aide Brings Help To Those in Need
The following is a true career story as told to JustJobs by a former hospice home health care worker. If you are considering a career in health care, check out the JustJobs website for interviews with a phlebotomist, a substance abuse counselor, and a myriad of other health care professionals.
For 3 years I was a home health aid for the hospice industry. I would say I was dedicated, compassionate and industrious.
My job involved helping patients with a variety of needs, depending on their limitations. I might tidy their home, do their laundry and dishes, cook a meal for them, help them bathe, or run errands such as shopping and picking up prescriptions.
Although it may sound like I was a maid, given the fact I also had to report in detail on the patient’s status, the job was more involved than that of a housekeeper.
Personal Experience Leads to Employment as Hospice Home Health Aide
When caring for my grandfather and my mother in their final month, I gained vital experience that was valuable in this position, and I realized it might be a good one for me.
After those experiences, I knew that others deserved the same considerations and attention I gave to my loved ones, and made it my professional goal to offer that.
I knew I wanted to do something that would be helpful to those whose days were numbered and who were not able to care for themselves completely.
Pros and Cons of Working as a Hospice Home Health Aide
I would rate my job satisfaction as an 8, with the main drawback being the limited time you are given with each patient.
I enjoyed knowing that I was able to help my patients and that they really appreciated my work and company.
If I could change one thing about the job it would be the limitations put on the care I was able to give to the patients.
The strangest thing I experienced was finding a patient had left me her doll collection at her death because of my appreciation for her dolls and the care I took to clean them for her.
The one thing that got me up every day was knowing my patients looked forward to my visits, especially one patient who loved my homemade biscuits and asked for them every time I saw him. The thing that frustrated me most about the job was the limitations in patient care because of insurance and government regulations.
A good part of this type of position is that the schedule is somewhat flexible. Usually, you are given a list of patients and a list of convenient times for them and you set your own schedule accordingly, so finding down-time isn’t always hard.
With this type of position, the salary isn’t always commensurate with the work you do. However, as you gain in experience and tenure, you can also gain income. When it comes to beginning in this type of position, a secondary income would definitely be advisable.
Qualifications Required to Work as Hospice Home Health Aide
A high school diploma is a must for this type of position, but it’s also a good idea to have some medical knowledge and education about or experience with caring for infirm and/or elederly patients. This type of knowledge can be a big boost in securing this type of position.
While formal education is important, learning from others with experience gives you a decided advantage as well.
Several friends who have thought about doing this type of work have asked my advice, and I have said the same thing to all: “make certain that this is what you really want to do and that you have the heart for it.” The reason why I suggest this is because this type of work requires a combination of dedication and compassion with a certain level of detachment to be successful (since you know your patients are dying and don’t want to be grieving each loss too deeply).
In the future, although I miss the connection with the patients, I would love to be able to instruct care givers in techniques for caring for patients. I would also love to have my own business that hires and schedules care givers for a variety of patient needs.