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Employment

Care aides and community health workers are the front-line care providers in a variety of institutional and community settings, including both home support agencies and residential care facilities. They are an integral part of our health care system. Health Care Assistants help health care professionals to care for patients. They may work in a hospital environment alongside doctors and nurses or in the home of a patient.

 

Health Care Assistants are responsible for assisting qualified health care professionals in caring for patients, who may be being treated in hospital or at home. The job can be extremely varied, since the health care professionals who require the services of a Health Care Assistant range from nurses to doctors, and from radiologists to midwives. The job of a Health Care Assistant overlaps with that of a nurse. However, Health Care Assistants are not allowed to administer medication or perform complex nursing procedures.

 

They are responsible for performing health/medical support tasks. They also take regular observations and ensure that patients are constantly kept as comfortable as possible. Health Care Assistants are also able to help out during emergency situations, for instance during emergency resuscitations. If a patient dies, Health Care Assistants are responsible for washing and preparing the body prior to the visit of relatives and transportation to the morgue.

 

While Health Care Assistants are responsible for recording the observations of patients throughout the day, they do not usually have much paperwork to do. Paperwork is usually the responsibility of the nurse. For this reason, Health Care Assistants will have relatively more contact with patients and the relatives of patients.

 

Salary

Newly qualified Health Care Assistants can expect to earn between $26,000 and $32,000 per year. The precise salary provided to an individual will depend upon the nature of their position. After a few years’ worth of experience, the salary of a Health Care Assistant is likely to increase to approximately $36,000 or higher.

 

Once Acute Care Skills certification is achieved, Care Aides can earn +$45,000 in an Acute Care ward in a public hospital.

 

Responsibilities

The precise tasks carried out by Health Care Assistants will obviously vary depending upon which healthcare professional requires help. However, typical tasks include:

  • Helping patients to undertake personal tasks, including washing, showering, and using the toilet
  • Serving food to patients and helping them to eat if they are physically weak
  • Changing dirty sheets and bedding
  • Making the beds
  • Talking to patients to ease loneliness and feelings of isolation
  • Listening to the particular needs of patients and acting on these needs as appropriate
  • Turning patients who are required to spend a lot of time in bed, in order to avoid bed sores
  • Helping patients to move around their environment and to feel comfortable in their own homes or in hospital. This involves keeping their living area extremely clean and tidy
  • Improving the mobility of patients
  • Giving out bedpans
  • Collecting used bedpans
  • Ensuring that supplies of medical equipment are replenished
  • Taking the temperature of the patient
  • Recording the temperature of the patient
  • Taking the pulse rate of the patient
  • Recording the pulse rate of the patient
  • Taking the respiration rate of the patient
  • Recording the respiration rate of the patient
  • Notifying health care professionals if temperatures, pulse rates, or respiration rates seem abnormal or worrying
  • Measuring the weight of the patient
  • Preparing patients for therapy or medical treatment
  • Setting up equipment needed by health care professionals
  • Assisting the healthcare professional while they administer therapy or treatment
  • Ensuring that the patient is comfortable while the therapy or treatment is being administered
  • Recording the patient’s progress following each session of therapy or treatment.

Atributes and Personality traits

Health Care Assistants will need to possess the following personal and professional traits:

  • A caring nature
  • An approachable nature
  • An open mind
  • The desire to work with people of all ages and from all backgrounds
  • Sensitivity
  • Good communication skills
  • Good listening skills
  • A tactful nature
  • The ability to keep sensitive information confidential at all times
  • A respectful approach to patients and colleagues
  • The ability and desire to take own initiative whilst recognising their limitations
  • Flexibility
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to remain patient and calm in tough situations
  • A good sense of humour
  • Reliability
  • Good organisational skills

Working conditions

Health Care Assistants usually work in either hospitals or the homes of patients. They may have to spend a lot of time travelling between locations if work is performed primarily in a community setting. Most Health Care Assistants work on a shift basis, which may include nights and weekend work. However, hours are often flexible and part-time work is available for those who desire it.

 

Employers

Health Care Assistants are usually employed by the following employers:

  • Local Health Care Associations, Boards, or Authorities
  • Private hospitals
  • Residential homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospices
  • Private agencies

Career progression

Many Health Care Assistants choose to stay in their position throughout their career. This is usually because they find it personally rewarding as well as financially stable. At the same time, experience as a Health Care Assistant will provide individuals with a solid foundation for becoming a nurse, a midwife, a social worker, or a support worker.

 
 

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