Preparing for your First Assignment as a Home Health Aide

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It is paramount that Home Health Aide Clinical Caregivers hold a comprehensive awareness of risk factors involved when embarking on shifts that take them into a patient’s personal residence or any type of assisted living community. Furthermore, a Home Health Aide needs to take precautions to prevent these risks, and they should be aware of:

  • Actionable personal safety measures that they can take. 
  • How adequately preparing for assignments decreases risk.
  • How to effectively communicate and document prior to, during, and after a shift. 

Clipboard Health believes that when you empower your HHA Clinical Caregivers through education and put the comfort of the patients first, then everyone will be actively involved in helping mitigate risk and stem losses. 

Risk #1: Patient Care Environment

  • Be respectful of the patient’s belongings, spaces, and cultural sensitivities & differences.
  • Do not remove your shoes in a patient’s home, because you may slip, stub your toe or step on a nail, tack, or piece of glass. To be culturally sensitive to clients who prefer their guests go shoeless, wear disposable surgical shoe covers, or leave a clean pair of shoes at the house to wear only there. 
  • Be mindful of household hazards like slippery bathroom floors or open cupboards, which can cause injury when you’re engrossed in assisting patients. 
  • Effectively communicate your allergies with your Licensed RN Case Manager before every shift. 

Risk #2: Infection Control 

  • Never touch animals. Even the friendliest animals can turn. Besides the potential threat, animals can also distract you and interfere with your work. It’s reasonable to ask for a pet to be kept away in a secure area so you can focus on delivering quality care. 
  • As a general rule, wash your hands frequently and never place your hands near your face. 

Risk #3: Patient Handling 

  • Never lift anything heavier than you are able to, overexert yourself, or put yourself at risk of injuries or falls. Instead simply acknowledge that something is too heavy for you to lift without causing harm to yourself. Call your Licensed RN Case Manager or Clipboard Health when this is the case. When lifting a reasonable amount, use proper ergonomic lifting body mechanic methods, which entail squatting with your knees bent, engaging your core, and holding your back upright. Never directly bend over, which strains your knees, neck, and back. 

Risk #4: Protecting Yourself

  • Make sure you have detailed directions to a new patient’s home.
  • Keep your car in good working order and ensure the gas tank is full.
  • Keep your car windows closed and your doors locked.
  • Lock your handbag in the trunk.
  • Have an extra set of keys in case you lock yours in the car.
  • If you feel threatened, call your Licensed RN Supervisor or the police immediately, depending on the severity of the situation. 

Risk #5: Documentation & Communication 

We believe effective documentation & communication work together and can help avoid violent threats and mitigate risks.

Documentation:

  • Uniquely challenging circumstances may occur in a home healthcare setting, and it’s important to never let negative or defensive emotions drive your documentation – it’s simply not worth it. Stick to the facts, and document everything on time, every time. This reduces liability and the need to defend the care provided.  Also remember, If it’s not documented in the medical record, it’s not done.

Communication:

  • Clearly communicate with your licensed RN Case Manager, before, during and after your shift to let them know how the shift went and if you had any concerns. 
  • When preparing for work effectively document expectations, specific care instructions, gather previous patient notes that are needed for the assignment and gather your Case Manager’s contact information in case of an emergency. 
  • Ask the right questions to the patients, always stay attentive and deliberate in recognizing vital issues before they become more serious health problems. 
  • Keep your guard up. It’s important to be professional, punctual and remember it is a work environment, not just someone’s home. 

A Licensed Registered Nurse will always be available to you as your Clinical Supervisor & Case Manager prior to, during, and after each shift. Along with this, Clipboard Health has a 24/7 Support Team available for handling complaints. You may reach us anytime by calling 408-837-0116 or emailing, support@clipboardhealth.com

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