Home Health Aide Training Part 6: Defining and Performing Personal Care

As a professional home health aide, your primary job will involve providing personal care to your patients. This means taking care of a wide variety of different tasks to ensure that they are healthy and safe. Some examples of common tasks that you’ll need to take care of include:

Bathing – Making sure that your clients are able to get into and out of the bathtub or shower. In some cases, you may also need to give them a sponge bath if they are unable to wash themselves.

Toileting—Making sure that your charges can go to the toilet as needed. In some cases, you may need to change adult diapers and or clean your charges if they are unable to do it themselves.

Dental Health—You’ll need to ensure that your patients are brushing their teeth and caring for their gums.

General Lifestyle Issues—In addition to these, helping your patients with food preparation, eating, getting dressed in the morning and getting around will all form primary parts of your job.

Understanding Why Someone Needs Personal Care

While the reason why someone needs personal care may not seem relevant at first; however, the reality is that knowing why someone is disabled can help tremendously in doing your job since you will need to provide different kinds of care depending on what the problem is. For example:

Recovery from Accident or Illness—If the person is recovering from an accident or illness, the focus of your personal care should be on trying to help them to recover to fully function as quickly as possible.

Long Term Chronic Condition or Old Age—In both of these cases, your job in providing personal care is somewhat different since you need to be able to help the client accept the limitations of their life as it is while at the same time helping them to be as independent as possible.

Dying—Occasionally, you may be called upon to work with clients in the final days of their lives. In these cases, you will need to be compassionate and help your clients to accept their lives and the fact that they do not have much longer on this earth.

Meeting Your Client’s Needs

Meeting your client’s needs for personal care means much more than just helping them with the day to day activities of life. It also means doing what needs to be done to ensure that they feel comfortable with you and with themselves. For example, you should be understanding of your clients and of the emotional turmoil they are experiencing at this difficult stage in their lives. This means ensuring that you make a good impression on your clients and that you show them acceptance of their needs.

For example, you should be prepared to build a helping relationship with your client and you must be ready to deal with any special problems that come up while working with your charges.

Infection Control in Personal Care

A large part of your work as a personal care aide is going to involve making sure that infections aren’t spread when working with your patients. This means taking a number of precautions to prevent the spread of disease. Some things you should do include:

Keeping Clean – You need to ensure that you keep the house clean and neat. When working with food, be sure to wash food and clean up any spills quickly. If you must change bandages or deal with wounds of any kind, antiseptic should be used to clean the wounds before dressing.

You should ensure that you also wash your hands regularly as well ensuring that you watch out for the possibility of infection from these problems.

Keeping Abreast of Problems—Another important part of personal care is to ensure that there will be no problems with chronic illness issues or other risk factors such as age or immunosuppressed individuals (i.e. people who are infected with HIV or other diseases which can cause them to be more susceptible to opportunistic infections). As a primary care giver, it is your responsibility watch out for the issues that may come up.

Dealing with Pain

Another issue that may come up for your personal care clients is that they may be dealing with chronic or temporary severe pain. A part of your work will involve helping them to manage their chronic pain problems. There are a number of things that you need to keep in mind while dealing with these issues:

Effects of Pain – Often, when one of your home health care patients is experiencing severe pain, you’ll find that they are unable to function effectively in ways that they ordinary would have been able to. Therefore, you need to be ready to work with them to ensure that they can handle such issues and will not be incapacitated by their pain.

Cultural Issues—Remember as well that your clients will have different ways of dealing with pain and that you need to respect these feelings while at the same time being professional about it.

Reporting—Finally, as a home health care aide, one of your primary jobs will be reporting on your client’s condition to the attending physician. This means ensuring that you report on pain management issues as well so that you can effectively help your clients to deal with these problems.

Toileting

There may be times when your home health care patients will require help with basic bodily functions, such as going to the toilet. In these cases, you may need to help them in using a bedpan. This is a special device which allows them to urinate in bed. Generally, you’ll need to wear gloves after the urination and empty the bedpan into the toilet once they are done with their business.

In order to prepare for your client’s needs, you should thoroughly clean the bedpan and help them to position it as needed. Wait until your client reports that he or she is done with it before you remove the bedpan and then carefully take it away, ensuring that you don’t spill anything. The bedpan should be cleaned again once you have emptied it to ensure that it doesn’t develop any smells.

Note that in other cases, patients may require the use of a bedside commode which is another specialized device, in this case for the collection of feces (i.e. it’s a kind of a toilet bowl which your clients can sit down on next to the bed). The procedure for using such a device is similar to that of using a bedpan.

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  • MARVA SMITH

    VERY GOOG INFORMENT .I WILL BE TRANING TO BE A HOME HEALTH NEXT WEEK.

    • http://www.healthaidetraining.org Lorne Stoppard

      Hi Marva,
      Best of luck with the training! Let us know how it goes.

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