Hospice health aide is trained medical professionals and they provide personal care to patients in their home environment. They employ in a variety of medical centers like nursing homes, private homes, assisted living centers, on-call home care centers, and in continuous care settings in the US. The job remains challenging but also rewarding for those who are interested in service. They simply help patients to get clean and restore a sense of dignity and offer relief for family caregivers.

Hospice aide’s primary duty includes helping patients and families with practical needs including medications, medical equipment, and light housekeeping and feeding. They need to provide emotional support and sometimes spend time with the patient and listen to their stories. The medical professionals can be hired privately by families and the hospice aides will visit patients one to three days a week to provide thorough care. They interact with the patients and perform various services during such visits. They educate family members and caregivers about patient care and depending on the frequency they interact with patients, a strong bond is been developed between them.

What are the duties of a hospice aide?

The hospice aides are members of a VITAS interdisciplinary team and they carry out the plan to take care of a patient with the support of a physician, nurse, social worker, and specialist. They also work independently travelling to the patient’s home and assisting them with a daily routine. The duties of a hospice aide include:

  • Communicating medical requirements
  • Bathing, cleaning, and dressing wounds
  • Personal care of hair, skin, nail, and oral
  • Help with toileting
  • Preparing a light meal and housekeeping
  • Task ensuring a clean and comfortable environment
  • Spending time with patients and educating family members
  • Shaving of the patient
  • Care and cleaning of foley catheters
  • Massage care and performing a various range of motion exercise
  • Changing bed sheet and assistance with walking
  • Turning and reposition bed-bound patients

Qualification of a hospice aide

The hospice aides are not nurses though they provide certain care to patients, they cannot provide any type of professional nursing care nor any medical service to the patients. The qualification needed for a hospice aide includes:

  • Certified nursing assistant credentials
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skill
  • Able to work on a flexible schedule during holidays and weekends
  • Able to apply good judgment to carry out instructions
  • High integrity including maintenance of confidential information
  • Valid driving license and auto liability insurance
  • Must be comfortable discussing grief and personal issues
  • Able to provide compassionate care

How to become a certified hospice aide?

A certified hospice aide needs to offer both personal and emotional care to patients during the last stage of serious illnesses. To become a certified medical professional, the process involves getting certified by the state of your residence, attending a training course, and passing the exam.

1. Educational requirement

Candidate needs to complete a state-approved certified nursing assistant program which is offered by the American Red Cross, a vocational school, or medical facility. To get admission, you need to be 18, must complete a high school diploma, certification in CPR, and first aid, and pass the health and background check. Depending upon each state, the program usually takes to four months and covers personal care, medical topics, patient ethics, safety, and the aging process.

The candidate who is looking for a career as a hospice CNA should consider taking biology, health, and human science. In general, high school students need to have a basic understanding of the biological process of the human body.

After finishing the program, you have to successfully pass the state CNA exam. You can expect to take a written exam and demonstrate specific clinical skills common to nursing. Once you pass the exam, you are considered registered with your state and begin working as a hospice aide.

2. CNA Training

The high school graduate must complete CAN training at a nursing school approved by the state. Each state has its requirement for the number of hours essential to gain certification. You need to join certain hours in the classroom and a portion involves clinical and hands-on training. The program mainly focuses on fulfilling patient’s needs in areas like the end of life care, personal care, grooming, mobility, elimination, nutrition, fluids, and vital sign.

3. Federal Requirement

Federal law requires CNA students to attend 16 hours of instruction before taking care of patients. The law requires CNA students in every state must pass the program in communication, interpersonal skill, infection control, emergency procedures, promoting residence independence, and respecting resident’s rights.

What skills should a hospice aid have?

  • Patient care – The medical professional needs to provide direct care to critically ill patients. They need to provide close observation to patients during the last stage of life with frequent daily documentation.
  • Certified in CPR – They need to be certified in CPR and palliative care and deliver emergency aid when needed.
  • Certified CNA – They must maintain a clean, orderly, and well-stocked environment. They must provide high-quality patient care within rehabilitation and nursing home settings.
  • HHA – They need to participate, and update HHA records and procedures. They should understand the need of the patient and make apt matches between HHA and patients.
  • Customer service – They must provide excellent customer service, exhibit patience, and critical thinking determining apt measures are required to diffuse certain situations. They must improve the quality of living by providing positive experiences for every patient and their family members.
  • Vital signs – must document vital signs, blood sugar, and bodily function into personal data. They must be experts handling feeding, dressing, and bathing.
  • Prepare nutritious meals – They need to plan, purchase, and prepare nutritious meals for patients.
  • Skincare and oral hygiene – They must assess for skin integrity, apply non-medical ointment to the medical area promoting meticulous skin care. They must help patients perform personal hygiene like bathing, toileting, providing oral hygiene, and grooming.

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