Hospice aides provide care for individuals who are not able to take care of day-to-day tasks on their own near the end of their life. These tasks include a variety of assistive measures, from household to medical needs. Hospice care is often provided at the home of the patient with the support of their family members, but sometimes it can be offered at a hospice facility. A hospice aide serves the patients under the supervision of the physician and registered nurse.
Hospice aides not only provide palliative care for their patients, but also often offer emotional support to their family members. As previously stated, the services that hospice aides provide for their patients are very broad in nature.
You need to fulfill the physical needs of the patient by doing things like shifting the patient from bed to chair, transporting them to and from different places, assisting them in motion exercises, etc.
If you are working as a hospice aide in the patient’s home, you have to do some housekeeping like making beds, cooking, doing the dishes, removing garbage, and doing laundry.
As a hospice aide, you are expected to be a good listener and provide emotional support to the family members of the patient. Sometimes the friends and family of patients ask medical questions about the health of the client. You may not be able to answer these questions properly, but it is your job to listen to their concerns and assure them that you are providing your best care and following the plan decided upon by the doctors and nurses. You can also put the family members in contact with the appropriate medical personnel so they can get answers to their questions.
A hospice aide is an integral part of the team in many hospice agencies and is expected to attend meetings that involve discussion of the patient’s health and care plan. You must keep an up-to-date medical report, including the patient’s state of mind, food and liquid intake and output, vital signs, blood pressure, pulse rate, and temperature. You can make your own recommendations during the meeting.
A hospice nurse aide takes care of proper grooming and hygiene for patients. They help patients with brushing, bathing, dressing, and feeding. They also provide nail and dental care to the clients, and change diapers and linens when necessary.
Hospice aides ensure that their patients take their medications on time, and provide day-to-day basic medical care. They start IV fluids whenever needed by the patient, but they are not allowed to administer injections. Some other responsibilities include checking port lines, maintaining breathing tubes, providing enemas, and catheter care. Their duties in this realm will depend on the needs of each patient.
A hospice aide also supervises the nutritional and supplement needs of their patients. Some medical treatments and medications may cause loss of appetite in patients, and they may find it difficult to eat. The hospice aide determines the appropriate amount of liquid and food intake (with consultation from the appropriate medical personnel) for the patient and encourages nutritional intake by serving small meals frequently.
According to the BLS, the average income of a Certified Home Health Aide was $12.18 per hour and $25,330 per year as of May 2018. Meanwhile, hospice CNAs may make slightly more than CHHAs on average, due to their additional credentials. The average CNA salary is also higher at roughly $27,000 per year.
The projected job growth for Hospice Aides from 2018 to 2028 is 36%. This is much faster than average job growth for a profession.
In addition to basic CNA skills, some valuable soft skills for hospice aides are:
There are two major categories of hospice aides: CHHAs (Certified Home Health Aides) and Hospice CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants).
A Certified Home Health Aide primarily takes on the role of helping their patients with day-to-day tasks such as housekeeping and personal hygiene, although they do monitor and report on the patient’s condition. They are not required to receive any generalized higher education, although they may be required to pass a training course, depending on what state they are in. It is also possible to receive national certification from the National Association of Home Care and Hospice.
Hospice CNAs are similar to CHHAs, but they have more medical training, and their duties are therefore often more medical in nature. CNAs work in a variety of healthcare settings, not just hospice care, including hospitals and various inpatient facilities. In order to become a CNA, you have to complete your state’s certification requirements, which will involve a state-approved training program and exam. You will then have to complete continuing education requirements and renew your license per state guidelines.