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Home Health Aides: What to Know

Home health aides assist people who cannot care for themselves due to old age, illness, disability, and other factors. Many studies support using home health services in medical care to aid in fast recovery and prevent a worse situation. It is a hard job and typically requires basic healthcare and personal assistance training. 

However, it’s essential to fully understand what home health aides do before you consider hiring one. This article will explain all you need to know about home health services and how to go about hiring a provider. You will also learn what sets this group apart from other healthcare personal assistants. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Home health aides assist with daily living by performing housekeeping, nutrition planning, cooking, grooming, and essential personal care duties.
  • Medicare only covers home health aides with certified home health agencies. 
  • A home health aide may administer medication and use medical equipment such as ventilators and oxygen tanks under a doctor’s or registered nurse’s direction. 
  • The average annual salary for a home health aide is $29,090 in most states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What Is a Home Health Aide, and How Do They Differ From a CDPAP Personal Assistant? 

A home health aide is a certified health care provider who provides standard care for people in their homes. The primary objective is to ensure and maintain the health and well-being of patients who require medical supervision. Although most healthcare aides typically work with seniors, people with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses may also need home health aides. 

Home health aides help to reduce the burden on healthcare centers, nursing homes, and hospitals by providing patients with medical care right in their homes. They assist patients with their daily living activities under flexible routines. A home health aide may also administer medication or inspect a patient’s vitals under a doctor’s or nurse’s direction. 

Meanwhile, your physician or healthcare provider may assign a healthcare aide, but most healthcare services are run through agencies. According to the CDC statistics report, 12,200 of these agencies were operating in 2016. Moreso, the analysis showed that 80.6 percent were for-profit, 14.8 percent were non-profit, and only 4.6 percent were government-owned. 

Furthermore, a home health aide doesn’t have to be someone you know, unlike the CDPAP program. An agency or vendor may match individual patients with a professional, whereas a CDPAP personal assistant may be a family member or a friend. 

HHAs and CDPAP assistants both provide non-skilled tasks like cooking and assisting with daily living routines. Since an HHA went through a training program to be certified, they are taught to perform a few additional tasks than a CDPAP caregiver. You can also observe the similarities and differences between CDPAP and HHA services below: 

Home Health AidesBothCDPAP Personal Assistants
Requires Home Health Aide (HHA) CertificationPerform non-skilled tasks like cooking, housekeeping, and laundry and assist with daily non-living tasks, including personal hygieneDoesn’t require any license or certification
Must be assigned by a licensed home care service agencyPatient must have MedicaidSelected by the patient or a designated representative
Reports to a case manager or supervisorCan adjust work hours to suit their client’s and family plansMay assist in basic medical tasks like medication reminders
Allowed to assist with dressing and wound carePerform paid serviceAssist in the use of medical equipment (ventilators, oxygen tanks)

What Services Do Home Health Aides Provide? 

According to the Bureau of labor statistics, home health aides are trained to help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairment in their daily activities. Generally, home health aides do not perform skilled tasks such as wound care, medication assistance, and other nursing duties. However, they can provide the following services: 

  • Home health aides can take their patients to and from medical appointments. 
  • They assist in creating a nutrition plan, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. 
  • Home health aides can remind their clients to take their medication and may also help pick up prescriptions where the patient cannot. 
  • A home health aide also performs housekeeping duties and keeps the house clean and livable. 
  • Home health aides are responsible for bathing, dressing, and grooming clients. They can also help clients use the toilet and move around the house. 
  • One of the primary roles a home health aide performs is companionship. Studies have shown that social isolation is associated with a 32% increased risk of stroke and a 50% increased risk of dementia. 

What Are the Requirements to Become a Home Health Aide? 

Home health aides are not required to have a college degree, and some home health aides do not have formal education. However, a home health aide working in certified home health agencies must have the following qualifications

  • Education: Many agencies require home health aides to have high school diplomas or an equivalent. 
  • Training: Home health aides typically need training on basic personal care duties such as housekeeping, first-aid service, meal prep, etc. In addition, most states also require about 120 hours of classroom and in-house training under the supervision of a registered nurse or any licensed medical professional. 
  • Licensing and Certification: Home health aides must pass a certification exam after 75 hours of in-house training on the basic skill sets of the position. Some states also conduct background checks on applicants before granting their Home Health Aide certification. 

How Much Do Home Health Aides Earn? 

The average annual salary for a home health aide is $29,430 in the United States, and the actual salary will vary from state to state. Home health aides can also get salaries in the 90th percentile of income, earning up to $36,000 per year, based on the data provided by the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics. 

According to the BLS, these states have the highest average wages for home health aides. 

StateAverage wage/ hourAnnual Salary
North Dakota $16.42$34,150

Meanwhile, these are the lowest-paying states for home health aides, falling about 11% below the national average:

StateAverage wage/ hourAnnual Salary

North Carolina $10.32
West Virginia $10.58$20,910

Depending on where you live in a state, wages may be higher or lower. For example, New York State requires home health aides to be paid a minimum wage of $15.20. Whereas in the city of New York, NY, the minimum wage for a home health aide is $17.00. 

While $17.00 is the minimum amount that a home health aide can be paid in New York, NY, a home health aide has the potential to earn up to $21.09/hour. 

How Do I Get a Home Health Aide? 

Studies have found that the need for home health aides is rising and will last for the foreseeable future. The BLS projected 33% growth in the overall employment growth for home health aides by 2030. There are two primary ways to find a home health aide if you consider hiring one. 

The first method is through an agency, or you can hire an independent home health aide directly. Most people prefer to use a licensed home health agency even though it is slightly more costly than direct hires. The agency typically handles the hiring and human-resources aspects such as background checks, payroll, taxes, and insurance. 

Home assistance agencies also monitor and supervise their home health aides to ensure they perform well. You can also complain to the agency if there is a mishap or your caregiver isn’t up to satisfaction. Medicare has a directory of top-rated private home care agencies on its website.

Meanwhile, you can avoid paying a go-between and hire a home health aide directly, which means you will spend less. However, you’re responsible for supervising the home health aide, and there’s no one to report to in case of a complaint. You will also have to conduct background checks and seek recommendations from friends and neighbors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I’m eligible for Medicaid? 

To be eligible for Medicaid benefits, you must be a U.S citizen or a lawful permanent resident with a low income. You can contact your state Medicaid office to confirm your eligibility for this service. 

How much do CDPAP personal assistants get paid? 

The average CDPAP hourly rate is between $13.20 to $21.09, which includes benefits. Hourly rate depends on multiple factors, the most important being where you live!

Here’s What You’ve Learned About Home Health Aides

A home health aide ultimately cares for the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions that can impact daily living. As you’ve already learned, home health aides offer personal care assistance and perform non-skilled healthcare duties under the supervision of a nurse or doctor. 

Home health aides provide their clients with relief, and the demand for this service is increasing daily. We recommend hiring a home health aide from a certified home care agency to avoid mishaps. You can also do further research to confirm your state’s licensing requirements for home health aides.

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