What Are The Top Home Health Care Worker Qualifications?
Wondering how to become a home health aide?
The requirements for home health aide positions are less stringent than you think. If you’re dedicated to helping others and passionate about patient care, you already possess two of the most foundational home health care worker qualifications for a rewarding career.
As the percentage of elderly adults increases, the need for those who want to become a home health aide is even more dire. Some studies project that there will actually be more job openings for home health aides than any other career in the next decade.
In this article, we’ll review some common topics surrounding home health care worker qualifications and home health care training, including:
- How to get a job as a home health aide
- How to become a home health caregiver without any formal experience
- How to become a home health care worker who loves their career
- How to find an organization that offers home health care training (home aid training)
Before we dive into these topics, let’s start with some the basics.
What Is A Home Health Aide?
Home health aides (also known as in-home caregivers) offer a wide range of services to elderly, disabled, and chronically ill patients in their homes.
Home health aides help patients with activities of daily living (ADLs), like:
- Using the bathroom
- Preparing meals
- Administering medication
- Performing light housekeeping
Home health aides also provide emotional support to patients and their families and are trained to care for more severe issues, like dementia.
Though a caregiver can play many important roles in an elderly adult’s life, one of the most critical roles home health care workers fill is companionship (an essential skill in most certified home health aide training courses).
Why Companionship Matters
Research shows that the lack of social interaction is one of the leading contributors to poor health in seniors. Studies have also shown that companionship can extend life expectancy, improve mental and physical health, and reduce hospital admissions.
That’s why home health care training involves interpersonal communication skills – and why offering companionship is one of the most essential functions of a home health aide.
Top Home Health Care Worker Qualifications
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to become a home health care worker because the requirements for home health aides vary depending on where you live.
But the most successful home health aides share many of the same general qualities. Let’s break down the most common home health care worker qualifications you’ll need to become a home health aide.
More specifically, here’s a look at some of the most important soft skills and hard skills for caregivers to possess.
Home Health Care Worker Qualifications: Soft Skills
Soft skills are usually difficult to quantify but are essential for caregivers. Learning how to become a home health aide means you’ll need to hone in on your:
- Compassion: Compassion is critical for home health aides because they often work with elderly adults who have a variety of needs. Home health care workers who can show compassion in all situations can react to the job’s inevitable challenges much better and provide a higher quality of care to clients.
- Patience: Home health aides often deal with those who are in pain, cognitively impaired, or both. Additionally, in-home caregivers have to move at the pace of their clients. Home health aides must always exercise patience and empathy when working with aging adults.
- Communication: Home health aides are often the main point of contact for patients and their families, so they must be able to communicate slowly, clearly, and effectively to provide the best possible care.
- Critical Thinking: Because home health aides often work with patients who have physical or cognitive impairments, they must be able to react quickly in new situations or possible emergencies.
If you don’t possess all of these skills right now, that’s okay. An in-home care agency should provide you with some training, and you can continue to hone your soft skills while on the job.
Home Health Care Worker Qualifications: Hard Skills
In addition to these soft skills, there are also hard skills or more technical requirements for home health aides.
- Ability to lift heavy objects and people: Home health aides often need to safely and effectively assist patients with ADLs and basic tasks they can’t do on their own, like getting in and out of bed safely, bathing, or getting dressed. They may also need to move heavy objects around the home.
- Ability to drive a vehicle: Caregivers often accompany elderly adults to their doctor appointments, social outings, and even grocery runs. Many organizations seek caregivers that not only drive but have safe and clean driving records.
- Ability to manage basic medication and care schedules: Home health aides often need to help clients remember when to take medication, so they must be capable of staying organized and remembering important dates/times.
Home health aides with these skills are better equipped to provide quality care to their patients.
Home care organizations will list some preliminary home health care worker qualifications in most job applications, but the best caregiver organizations provide their own home aid training to set new caregivers up for success.
Does My State Require Education For Home Health Aides?
While there’s no federal mandate for education requirements for home health aide roles, many states have their own regulations.
However, most in-home care companies do require that you:
- Are 18 years of age or older
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Hold a valid driver’s license and have a usable vehicle
- Pass a background check
Additionally, you might need to complete a caregiver training program to become a home health aide. Be sure to do your research on how to get a job as a home health aide in your area.
Higher-level medical caregiving roles may require more formal certified home health aide training, but most home health aides only require a willingness to learn and the hard and soft skills we covered to meet their patients’ needs.
Learn How To Become A Home Health Aide with Commonwise
Home health aides are a critical link between patients, their families, and the healthcare system. They provide essential hands-on care and companionship to aging adults, which can improve the quality and even the length of their life.
Most in-home caregivers possess both soft skills and hard skills that allow them to provide quality care to aging loved ones. If you want to start a career in caregiving but need some training, you can look up programs in your area or check with local agencies to see if they offer on-site training.
If you’ve been thinking about how to become a home health aide, now is the time to take the next step with Commonwise Home Care. Commonwise Home Care offers a unique opportunity to learn essential skills through our Caregiver University training program. In our program, you’ll gain the knowledge and experience you need to start a rewarding journey as a home health aide. We also offer industry-leading wages, great professional growth opportunities, and ongoing training and support.
Ready to start a new career as a home health aide?
With locations in the Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA and Charleston, SC areas, a fulfilling career awaits. Apply for a Commonwise caregiver position today!