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Long-Term Care Aide


Description

WithAmerica's aging population more and more people are requiring long-term care outside of traditional hospital facilities. For example; some elderly patients may require someone to help them with daily activites such as dressing and washing due to a broken hip or mobility difficulties but they do not need hospitalization. This would be a job for a long-term care aide.

Long-term care aides will visit a patients home every day or so, and help with things like physical exercise, massage therapy, bathing and eating before they head out for the day. An important part of the long-term care aides job is to provide comfort and companionship to housebound individuals. It is amazing the effect a cup of tea and a little conversation can have.

Living at home can be a factor in the good health of the elderly and traumatized or injured children. With the assistance of long-term care aides individuals have the opportunity to reside at home, surrounded by familiar things and still receive the care they require until they are better, or need to move into long term residency (in the case of elderly patients).

Long-term care aides who provide home care are self-employed or work with an agency. They travel to and from homes of the elderly, disabled, or accident victims, providing assistance to those who need care over extended periods of time. Aides can also work in hospitals, nurisng homes, and other long-term care facilites, where they work alongside doctors, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses. Long-term care aides look after the most basic needs of patients. They don't dispense medication, but they do ensure that patients are comfortable.

Long term care aides who are self employed, or work with an agency, spend more time working alone, but they do experience greater freedoms than aides in hospitals, who are under supervision of the nursing staff and the doctors. That said, it is also those aides working in hospitals who get the most opportunities to learn new things, are exposed to more techniques, and may learn to clean wounds, monitor intravenous fluids, and administer breathing or feeding tubes.

Long-term care aides often specialize, and work exclusively with children, the elderly, or psychiatric patients. But regardless of who they work with, and the environment they work in, this line of work can be stressful, distressing, and depressing. Unlike other branches of health care, aides form close relationships with the patients, many of whom are terminally ill. That is why only truly compassionate, strong, and grounded individuals are encouraged to get into this type of work.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$16,890
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Long-term care aides should be strong, both physically and emotionally. They tend to be caring, empathetic, and determined to help people.They also need to feel comfortable around the very ill, the elderly, and the families of patients. Long-term care aides are good at following instructions and protocol. They have good listening and communication skills and the sensitivity required to meet the needs of people from a variety of backgrounds.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Helps patients with daily activities such as dressing, eating, and washing
  • Change bed linen
  • Serve food and drinks, feeding patients when necessary
  • Supervise exercise routines
  • Collect specimens for tests
  • Take patients' vital signs
  • Interact with patients
  • Clean medical equipment and instruments
  • Supply and empty bed pans
  • Perform clerical and phone duties.
  • Maintain inventory of supplies
  • Tidy patients' homes
  • Grocery shop for patients
  • Long-term care aides have a variety of responsibilities, depending on the patients they work with and where they work. Generally a typical day will involve working closely with patients, assisting them in daily tasks, as well as preparing for operations, examinations, and visits. Long-term care aides will work closely with their patients, as well as meet regularly with a supervisors or senior nursing staff to discuss patient issues. Long-term care aides who provide home care travel throughout their communities, while aides in hospitals spend most of each day indoors in the same building.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Long-term care aides work in hospitals, seniors' care facilities, and with agencies which provide home care service to people requiring assistance. They can work full- or part-time. They may work odd hours, including evenings and weekends, due to their patients' schedules. Generally, they work alone with the patients, but report regularly to supervisors and management. Like any work in the health care field, there is some exposure to disease, toxic chemicals, and body fluids, and the aide must take necessary precautions at all times.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Many long-term care aides specialize in a specific area of health care, and assist psychiatric patients, the elderly, children, or focus on home care or hospital work. Some go on to become registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, therapists, and social workers. They can also start up their own agencies, and supervise aides.
 

  Educational Paths  
There are some college programs aimed at training long-term care aides. However, some agencies will hire staff with first aid training and experience working with others. Some people take licensed practical nursing training, or look for other related courses. Some agencies and hospitals may require aides to have some supervised training as well. It is important to call various agencies and hospitals to find out about employer expectations.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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