Hospice Care Aides Job Description, Career as a Hospice Care Aides, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Training/Educational Requirements: High school diploma preferred
Median Salary: $9.34 per hour
Job Prospects: Excellent
A hospice care aide helps individuals unable of helping themselves. These aides travel to the patient’s home and help them perform activities required for daily life. Hospice care aides are often associated with the elderly or disabled who are unable to take care of themselves, so they perform all required functions specific to the patient.
Most of the time, a hospice aide is the first position an individual may take at the beginning of their career. Alternatively, an individual may seek such a career if they are interested in the nursing field, but do not have the required education or training. Most functions performed are rather fundamental in nature, and do not require much training.
Hospice aides usually work within a hospice environment or travel to the patient’s home. They help the individual eat, get up out of bed, or help them with the bathroom or a bedpan. The number of duties involved depends on the nature and the status of the patient, since they are expected to help the patient function as normally as possible. If working within a hospice environment, they work with individual patients to make their final days as comfortable as possible. If working in a home environment, they spend time sitting with or caring for an elderly or disabled patient who requires extra care.
Many times, families of patients in either a home or hospice environment can’t commit to 24 hour care, so they hire a hospice aide to help during the times they are absent. Hospice aides travel to the home and work in shifts providing round the clock supervision and care. They aren’t usually a registered nurse or hold a license and cannot usually administer medication, so the responsibilities are typically fundamental.
There is no educational or training requirement for this position. A hospice aide learns from on-the-job training with a registered nurse or a nurse’s aide. They learn the proper way to do things such as help a patient out of bed or assist with a bedpan by observing other nurses and by practicing. Oftentimes the family of the patient has a particular way they want things done, so the best training comes from working directly on the job.
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers certification for personal and home care aides throughout the country. This certification is not mandatory although individuals may opt to gain it to demonstrate they have met established industry standards. It can be a simple certification and lend way to further development within this role. Those individuals wishing to gain their certification must complete a 75-hour course, observe and document work in up to 17 different skills signed off by a registered nurse. In addition, they must successfully pass a final exam. Although this isn’t a requirement, it can certainly lend way to more opportunities for advancement.
There are some high school courses that prepare for this role. At the early stages, an individual can do a co-op job to better prepare themselves for becoming a hospice aide. There are some standalone classes an individual can take in patient care which prepares them for the real thing. Individuals interested in a career as a hospice aide receive basic training from the company they work for before they are sent to a patient’s home.When working in a hospice environment, the facility will provide some training not only in how to care for a patient but also in how to make them comfortable as they prepare for death. There are certain personality traits such as patience and compassion that are required for such a role since most patients are elderly, disabled, or dying.
How to Get Hired
Most individuals wishing to get a job as a hospice aide look for employment with a home health care services company. This is usually the best way to get hired because the patients and their families go to such a company to hire this type of individual. It helps to take training classes or work through a high school co-op to prepare for this role. In turn, this also helps to get hired much faster.
For the hospice aide wishing to get hired into a hospice environment, it helps to apply to the facility directly. Usually these facilities are looking for background and experience since patients who come in here require a certain type of personality. It is also helpful to have experience working with a dying patient.
Although there is no specific educational requirement for this position, experience helps to get hired. It is especially true for families who are hiring someone to come to their home and care for their loved one.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
There is expected to be a better than average increase in the hiring of hospice aides. This role is expected to grow as families continue to look for individuals to care for their loved ones in a home or hospice environment. Since this is an entry-level position, the requirements for hiring are much lower. Therefore, it appeals to those who may not have a college education. There is a high potential for growth since people oftentimes don’t want to work within an entry-level role.
As more hospice centers become a popular environment, the need for hospice aides will increase. So, too, will the need to keep aging or disabled family members in their home rather than sending them to a nursing home. This means there will be an increased need for individuals in this role, and within the home health care services business.
Depending on the type of facility a hospice aide wishes to work within, the environment may be slightly different. If focused within home health care, the individual will often travel to patient’s homes. The assignment may last for a short time or may become a regular job. Individuals in this role care for more than one patient in their home or sometimes travel between a variety of different patient’s homes. It all depends on the patients, the workload and the hours required. However, if focused within the home health care niche, hospice aides can expect the working environment to be an actual home. If focused within the hospice niche, it is expected to work within such a facility or institution. These facilities strive to create a cozy environment for their patients so they can be comfortable before they die. This work environment is more like an actual medical facility, but feels cozier.
Salary and Benefits
As of 2006, the average earnings for a hospice aide was about $9.34 an hour. The range averaged anywhere from $7.99 all the way up to $13 per hour depending on the facility. In some instances, a home health care company pays slightly higher depending on the environment and patient’s needs. The more experience an individual has, the more they can expect to earn per hour.
Since these are hourly positions, most of the time hospice aides work without any true benefits. Any travel expenses incurred are the individuals’ responsibility and are often not reimbursed. Instead, a flat hourly rate is given to hospice aides. For those working within a hospice environment, they can expect some benefits if they are hired by the facility directly.
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