The work of a home health aide is essential and exhausting — and far too often, it goes without thanks. Healthcare professionals are juggling a lot, from long, physically draining workdays to heavy emotional and mental labor. Without their commitment and care, many in our society would suffer greatly.
According to the National Health Sciences, November 13-19, 2022, is Home Care Aide Week. During this week, we would like to acknowledge the life-saving work performed by each and every home health aide.
Read on to learn about the challenges home health aides face and how to support and care for your team during Home Care Aide Week and beyond.
Challenges of Working as a Home Health Aide
Studies have shown that the work of a home health aide is extremely stressful and underpaid. On top of the emotional labor of caring for patients, these workers are often asked to juggle multiple responsibilities and work long — at times even excessive — hours for little to no extra compensation.
As a result, many home health aides take on side jobs or work with multiple agencies to make ends meet. This, of course, adds to their already overloaded schedules, especially when they’re asked to cover more shifts or denied time off because staffing is low.
While the majority of these problems are industry-wide and need to be addressed at a systemic level, the people who suffer most from their effects are individual home health aides and their patients.
How to Support Your Home Health Aides
Unfortunately, not every home health agency can afford to raise salaries and offer additional benefits. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to support each and every home health aide on your team! Here are a few ways you can help your workers relieve stress and avoid burnout.
Provide Mental Health Resources
Even though home health aides by definition provide care to others, they need care themselves, too. You can offer that care by providing resources to help your aides manage things like:
- The graveyard shift. Help your aides learn healthy ways to deal with night shifts, such as effective napping and good sleep hygiene.
- Compassion fatigue. Often referred to as “the cost of caring,” compassion fatigue is a common emotional stressor faced by caregivers of all kinds. Offering resources to help your workers understand and deal with their compassion fatigue can help them practice better self-care while still providing quality care to their patients.
Whether your workers are coping with these specific stressors or not, providing access to mental health care and resources is an important way to help them avoid burnout and continue doing their jobs safely and effectively.
Sponsor Subscriptions to Meditation Apps
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and negative emotions — and may even help alleviate symptoms of physical ailments such as chronic pain or sleep problems. It can be a great tool for your home health aide team to manage their stress in just a few minutes each day.
Offering corporate-sponsored subscriptions to popular meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm makes the practice of meditation — along with its benefits — more accessible to your team.
Give Personalized Feedback
Often, gratitude and appreciation carry more weight than dollars. Even if you can’t offer your home health aide team better pay, you can demonstrate that they are valued as both employees and people.
Look for ways to give your workers personalized, sincere, positive feedback on a regular basis. Whether it be through handwritten notes or face-to-face meetings, go out of your way to point out specific things they’ve done well recently and express your gratitude.
When workers are asked to take on extra responsibilities or cover for short staff, they will likely feel overwhelmed and underprepared. Providing opportunities to improve their skill sets will help equip your home health aide team to handle a wider scope of responsibilities.
Given the tight schedules most home healthcare workers have, it’s important that these learning opportunities be flexible. Online training and certification courses, for example, allow workers to learn and grow at their own pace in whatever environment they choose.
Thank You for Your Life-Saving Work!
Every home health aide — and every person who leads and supports home health teams — plays an important role in protecting the lives and safety of vulnerable members of our society. Thank you for your commitment to providing quality care and life-saving services!
At ProTrainings, we’re committed to supporting healthcare professionals all year round, not just during Home Care Aide Week. Contact us today to learn more about how ProTrainings can help you make getting your staff CPR certified easier and more efficient.