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How Do HHA's & Service Coordinators Co-Exist To Improve Home Care Services To Clients?

Updated: Feb 7

Service Coordinator working with Home Health Aides

Navigating through many home care agencies in search of the ideal client to care for as a Certified Home Health Aide can be extremely tricky, daunting, time-consuming and exhausting, to say the least. This article was written to help Home Health Aides co-exist with Service Coordinators to increase your chances of securing the type of client and schedule you wish to work.

If you are a recently graduated Certified Home Health Aide or a seasoned Home Health Aide, there are a few things you will learn rather quickly when you are in need of an assignment.

First off, depending where you live, there are probably several home care agencies available that provide home care services to individuals in need of care. We will refer to them as "clients". Not all clients are the same or require the same kind of assistance. That is why it is important for you to understand the different types of clients that exist, understand the type of clients you are truly capable of assisting, familiarize yourself with the variety of care settings available, and have a flexible availability to care for clients when care is needed.

Many home health aides seem to believe that home care services are only available for elderly individuals and that care can only be provided in the client's home. The reality is that today, that is far from the truth.

Yes, elderly do receive the majority of home care services, however, anyone can be in need of home care services regardless of age. This means that even pediatrics just a few months old can receive care if needed. It is also very common for clients to receive care in ages ranging from 16 - 40 years of age. A client may need care for any number of reasons as long as there is a need for assistance with ADL's (Activities of Daily Living).

Basic ADLs

The basic ADL include the following categories:

  • Ambulating: The extent of an individual’s ability to move from one position to another and walk independently.

  • Feeding: The ability of a person to feed oneself.

  • Dressing: The ability to select appropriate clothes and to put the clothes on.

  • Personal hygiene: The ability to bathe and groom oneself and maintain dental hygiene, nail, and hair care.

  • Continence: The ability to control bladder and bowel function

  • Toileting: The ability to get to and from the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning oneself.

Learning how each basic ADL affects an individual to care for themselves can help determine whether a patient would need daily assistance. It can also help the elderly or disabled people to determine their eligibility got state and federal assistance programs.

Instrumental ADLs

The instrumental ADLs are those that require more complex thinking skills, including organizational skills.

  • Transportation and shopping: Ability to procure groceries, attend events Managing transportation, either via driving or by organizing other means of transport.

  • Managing finances: This includes the ability to pay bills and managing financial assets.

  • Shopping and meal preparation, i.e., everything required to get a meal on the table. It also covers shopping for clothing and other items required for daily life.

  • Housecleaning and home maintenance. Cleaning kitchens after eating, maintaining living areas reasonably clean and tidy, and keeping up with home maintenance.

  • Managing communication with others: The ability to manage telephone and mail.

  • Managing medications: Ability to obtain medications and taking them as directed.

While we are all familiar with providing care for clients in their home, did you know that you can also provide care for clients that live in Nursing Home or in a Long Term Rehabilitation Center? Many home health aides are not aware of this. Caring for a client that resides in a health care facility will require working directly for private paying client or through a home care agency that has acquired a license, contract or an authorization from the state to provide such care. Caring for a client in a nursing home setting has major benefits, including having significant medical staff around you at all times, ready to assist should there be any incident or decline in the client's conditions.

So how does a Home Health Aide find the ideal client to care for? Well, you must be willing to network, connect with, and register with several home care agencies. This does not mean register only with home care agencies in your neighborhood or city. This means reaching out to and speaking with Human Resources or Service Coordination personnel employed at various locations throughout your state to identify agencies that currently service clients in your city or neighborhood.

The mistake many home health aides make is register with only one or two agencies, and most of the time, only with agencies located in the same city where they reside. That's not a terrible thing, unless you are not receiving any assignments that align with the type of clients or schedules you are looking to work. Not to mention, if you are only being offered clients outside of areas you prefer to work.

Home Care Agencies are able to provide care for clients in specific zones or cities within the state that they operate. That means that a home care agency located in Bronx, NY might have many clients available in Brooklyn, NY or Nassau County, NY and are in need of home health aides that reside in those areas. Unfortunately, many home health aides fail to realize this and hardly ever consider reaching out to agencies outside of their city, therefore, potentially missing out on great opportunities.

Here's our advice for home health aides looking to work in specific areas, specific schedules, or with specific clients or care setting types.

  • Get a pen and pad to draft out your preferences

  • Search online for Home Care Agencies that operate in your state or city

  • If you prefer to work in a Nursing Home or Long Term Rehabilitation facility, make a list of those facilities that operate in the city you wish to work in

  • Have all of the necessary documents ready in the event you need to register with an agency right away (Most agencies will require a State issues ID, Social Security Card, a valid HHA Certificate, Pre-employment physical with labs and drug screen, Results for PPD, Rubella, Rubeola, Measles, 2 reference letters, proof of covid vaccination, etc.

  • Call each of the home care agencies and request to speak with either a recruiter, human resources personnel, the administrator or service coordinator

  • Informed that you are seeking employment and provide details about your experience and preferences

  • Ask if they currently have clients that they service in the area you wish to work and if they currently have any clients available in need of a caregiver

  • Express your ability to register with the agency immediately if they have a client available that meets your preferred schedule and location to work

  • Once you register with an agency, ask to speak with a Service Coordinator. Building a relationship with the service coordinators is crucial to your success as a home health aide. Service Coordinators are responsible for assigning home health aides to provide care to clients. They receive new cases every week, sometimes everyday. So maintaining constant contact with service coordinators will ultimately help you secure employment quickly.

  • You are not required to accept every case that is offered to you, however, declining too many cases might get you blacklisted by the service coordinators, so be willing to help cover cases regardless of location or hours if you want to appear as the ideal caregiver to the service coordinators.

  • When you first join a home care agency, you should expect to be offered assignments that are less appealing and outside of your preferences. But helping service coordinators cover assignments gives you the opportunity to show the agency how fantastic you are as an aide. You do this by arriving on time to the assignment, providing excellent care to the client, providing feedback to the service coordinator about your experience with the client, and being consistent with the level of care you provide to each client you care for. Eventually, service coordinators will notice how pleasant it is to assign you to cases and how well you care for clients that they will begin to offer you clients with the best hours and locations.

The goal of every home care agency is provide the best possible home care experience to all of their clients. This is done by service coordinators understanding the needs of their clients and assigning compassionate, experienced home health aides to provide care. Service Coordinators and Home Health Aides must work well together to accomplish the task of providing quality care to clients. So the next time you are looking for a home care agency to join, remember this article, practice the steps listed above, and watch how quickly you'll be caring for your ideal clients.


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