Hospice AideTo use your HHA certificate in a different way, you can work as a hospice aide. You work under the direction of a registered nurse, providing personal care to patients in their homes, an inpatient hospice facility, or in a long term care facility. Since you spend the most time performing patient care, and interacting with the family, you can provide very valuable information to the medical team as care plans are developed and updated.
Your duties may include helping the patient get out of bed and walk, or perform other exercises, as well as helping the patient and family achieve physical and emotional comfort, based on the patient's care plan. Part of this emotional comfort may involve helping the patient come to terms with the terminal diagnosis of his condition.
Your duties will not include giving medication, taking doctor's orders, or performing any procedure that requires the skill and training of a licensed nurse.
Elder CompanionAn elder companion works with a generally healthy older client, who may require some assistance with daily living activities, but assistance is non-medical related. You provide emotional support and companionship to your client by holding conversations with her, playing board or card games, and encouraging her to be as physically active as possible. These activities help her to not feel so lonely, and relieve the concerns of her family about her well-being.
As an elder companion, you may help your client with meal planning, meal preparation, and transportation to the grocery store. You won't have to perform heavy housekeeping duties, but you may change bed linens, wash clothes, and clean the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.
Home Health AideAs a home health aide, you may work for a certified home health agency that receives government funding, and must follow certain government regulations to continue receiving funding. You'll be directly supervised by a medical professional, which is usually a nurse. You must record any services you perform for the client, as well as changes and progress in the patient's condition. Other duties may involve working with therapists or other medical staff members.
Health-related duties may include checking vital signs, as well as assisting with giving medication, and assisting with prescribed exercises. Occasionally, you might change simple dressings, provide massage therapy or skin care, and assist clients who have braces or artificial limbs.
"You'll receive instructions from your supervisor telling you how often to visit clients, and what services to perform," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You generally work on your own, with visits from your supervisor at regular intervals. You're responsible for your own transportation to client's homes, and you may spend a good portion of your work day commuting from one client to another. A home health aide may work with clients who are elderly, disabled, or terminally ill, by providing personal care, which usually takes place in the client's home.
To earn an HHA certificate, you can attend a community college, or go through the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.
By following a few tips, and researching your options, you can use your HHA certificate in different ways, rather than just working as a home health aide.