If you serve as a caregiver for your elderly or disabled loved one and can’t be with him or her all the time, it’s a good idea to employ a home health aide. Sometimes referred to as a personal care aide, having a home health aide (HHA) to assist with caregiving duties can help take some of the pressure off you and other caregivers in your family. Here is some helpful information on how to interview a home health aide, including what questions to ask and how to find the right person.
Home Health Aide Definition
It’s important to understand your loved one’s needs and the full extent of the home health aide definition. A home health aide is a trained and certified healthcare worker who assists a patient in the home. Also known as a personal care aide, the individual will assist your loved one with personal care and hygiene, like bathing and getting dressed. Caregivers may also do light housework, such as meal preparation, while other caregivers may do grocery shopping, laundry or take out the garbage.
A certified nursing aide (CNA) provides more advanced medical care than a home health aide. The CNA is required to work under a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, to whom they report the patient’s condition and progress.
Questions to Ask a Home Health Aide
With beginning the interview process, start off with a friendly conversation to help put both you and the home health aide at ease. Start with some open-ended questions to get the conversation flowing. Then, begin asking questions based on your needs. For example, you could ask:
- How long have you been working as a home health aide?
- What hours do you prefer to work?
- Are you comfortable with helping someone to use the bathroom, take a shower and get dressed?
- Are you comfortable with helping someone eat or walk?
During the interview, you could also describe to the personal care aide certain scenarios and ask how he or she would handle each one. For example, if your loved one, such as mom or dad, has a stubborn streak and sometimes refuse to take medicine, it’s important to hear how a personal care aide handles that situation. If you have a loved one who is forgetful or likes to wander off, inquire how the home health aide would respond in these types of stressful scenarios. It’s important for the person you are interviewing to fully understand the needs and potential challenges that may come from caring for your elderly or disabled loved one.
Home Health Aide Duties Checklist
It may be helpful to come up with a home health aide duties checklist beforehand and show him or her the checklist during the interview. This helps the person you are interviewing to understand what is expected. A home health aide duties checklist is also a great tool to keep at home for other caregivers in your family, so everyone knows what tasks have been completed to ensure the safety and comfort of your loved one.
A Caregiver and Self Care
Once you are successful in finding a home health aide, take advantage of having help to care for your elderly or disabled loved one. Self-care for the caregiver is equally important as caring for the person you love. The Family Caregiver Alliance is an organization that offers support to friends and families who are taking care of loved ones at home. The organization stresses the importance of a caregiver allowing him or herself to feel, whether those feelings are positive or negative. Once you have employed a home health aide, be sure to make time for you. Consider joining a support group for caregivers. For more information on self-care for caregivers, click here.