There’s no question that home health aides are critical to the future of healthcare. Americans are living longer, and the baby boomers who are now retiring will soon have need of healthcare services in the home—for their parents now, and themselves later. For agencies or individual families looking to hire these valued caregivers, there are a number of issues that should be taken into account, to make sure that you hire the best from the available pool of potential workers.
- Training Mandates. Every state requires at least 75 hours of training before a home health aide can be employed, and many require more. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get that training, ranging from community college courses and vocational schools to Red Cross and on-the-job training.
- Additional Training. It’s also wise to have in-house training, which orients even the most experienced of aides in the particular requirements and practices of your company. There may also be appropriate cross-cultural training, to orient home health aides in the particular preferred cultural foods and home life practices of those for whom they will care.
- Other Requirements. It’s a good idea to require a high school diploma, GED, or relevant alternative proof of basic capabilities in reading, writing, math, etc. Background checks are sometimes required by states and are strongly recommended because these aides will be spending significant amounts of time alone with clients in their homes.
- Experience. While everyone wants to hire caregivers with experience, no aides can get experience without being hired somewhere. For example, don’t discount a mature adult’s experience of caring for a loved one, which may well give them plenty of relevant experience to get them started with your organization. It’s also important to pay attention to the reputation of agencies where these individuals have worked in the past.
- Appeal to the Caregiver's Needs as Well. For example, pay attention to their preferred shift, as this often correlates with childcare requirements or other family responsibilities. Offering continuing education is often a draw for talented and motivated caregivers; their commitment to your organization will be reflected in their care of your clients.
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