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The Home Health Aide


Updated June 25, 2014

Definition: The home health aide (HHA) is trained to provide personal care to patients in their home environment. This care is based on individual patient need and typically includes:
  • Shower, tub bath, or bed bath
  • Shaving
  • Dressing
  • Washing hair
  • Combing hair
  • Oral care or denture care
  • Help with toileting or incontinent care
  • Care and cleaning of foley catheters
  • Nail care
  • Back rub/massage
  • Turning and repositioning bed bound patients
  • Transferring from bed to chair or chair to bed
  • Assistance with ambulating (walking)
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Changing bed sheets
  • Light housekeeping

Home health aides may be hired privately by patients or their families or provided by a home health or hospice agency. Home health aides from hospice and home health agencies may visit patients one to three days a week to provide thorough care. The home health aide may educate family and other caregivers on patient care so families will feel comfortable providing day to day care between home health aide visits.

Home health aides are not nurses and therefore cannot provide any type of professional nursing care nor offer medical advice. Home health aides follow a plan of care developed by a registered nurse who supervises the care they provide. This means that an RN will be making joint visits with the HHA from time to time to observe the care provided and offer further teaching, if needed.

A home health aide is a covered service under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, although the need for a home health aide must be clearly documented. This may mean that patients who are still independent and can care for themselves don't qualify for home health aide services. If you have any questions about how you can obtain home health services, talk with your physician or case manager nurse.

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