Hospice aides are often called the unsung heroes of palliative care.
Through the work of these caregivers, patients and families alike can benefit from emotional support, physical help, and social networking within the community.
Let’s look at some of the fundamental responsibilities of a hospice aide, the requirements of this position, their working conditions, and how much they earn.
What does a hospice aide do?
A hospice aide provides comfort and assistance to patients with life-limiting illnesses, helping them make the most of the time they have left; while maintaining an open line of communication with the hospice team.
They help patients live as comfortably as possible by providing compassionate assistance with activities of daily living.
Hospice aide duties
Hospice aides provide vital support to patients, families, and staff in hospices.
They work under doctors’ direction to relieve pain and other sufferings, usually by assisting with essential functions such as feeding, bathing, and toileting.
In addition to helping patients with their day-to-day needs, they also help families deal with a terrible diagnosis through knowledge and emotional support.
The primary duties and responsibilities of a hospice aide include:
- Provide personal care such as baths, back massages, oral hygiene, hair care, and changing bed linen regularly.
- Respond to patients’ demands as soon as possible.
- Meet the patient’s safety needs and handle equipment safely and correctly (stools, rails, oxygen, etc.)
- Assist with patient dressing and undressing.
- Assist with the patient’s nutrition.
- Take and record oral, rectal, and axillary temperatures, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure as directed.
- Monitor the caregiver or other people living with the patient and any interpersonal concerns.
- Assist with ambulation and workout as an extensional therapy service
- Assist with light laundry requirements.
- Provide respite for the patient’s family or caregiver.
- Maintain the patient’s living place in a clean and tidy manner.
- Run errands for and with patients, such as grocery shopping or transporting them to doctor appointments.
- Meet with the patients’ loved ones, evaluate any worries they may have, and answer any questions regarding their health.
What qualifications are needed for a hospice aide?
Hospice aides are categorised into two types:
- Hospice CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants)
- CHHAs (Certified Home Health Aides)
CHHAs assist patients with daily duties such as cleaning and personal hygiene, including monitoring and reporting on the patient’s wellbeing. They are not obliged to get any broad higher education. However, they may be required to complete a training course depending on the state in which they live.
Hospice Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are similar to Certified Home Health Aides (CHHAs), but their tasks are generally more medically related because they have extensive medical training.
Hospice CNAs operate in a wide range of healthcare settings, such as hospitals and inpatient institutions.
To become a Hospice CNA, you must first meet your state’s certification standards, including completing a training program and passing a certification test. You will then be required to fulfil continuing education requirements and renew your licence under state regulations.
It typically takes around four months to train to become a hospice aide. After training and passing your certification exam, you can easily find work through job exchange apps like Velju.
Requirements for a hospice aide job
The role of a hospice aide requires organisation, patience, compassion, and an ability to be sensitive to others’ needs at a difficult time in their lives.
The job can be emotionally challenging, but you can find support from your coworkers and family members, who work with you to meet the needs of every patient every day.
Below are some other requirements expected from candidates of hospice aide jobs:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must possess at least a GED or high school diploma.
- Earn your first aid, CPR, home health aide, or CNA (certified nursing assistant) certifications.
- A valid driver’s licence to transport your patients.
Hospice aides spend most of their workday in a patient’s home. They might sometimes travel to a patient’s place of residence or an assisted living facility, if necessary.
Hospice aides work primarily with terminally ill patients, so comfort with death and dying is essential, as their time with patients will often be limited.
Hospice aide salary
According to the National Careers Service, hospice aides working full-time in the UK earn between €22,000 (starter) to €30,000 (experienced) annually.
However, the pay may vary greatly depending on where you live.
For example, in Munich, Germany, hospice aides make about €26,615 (EUR) a year—but in Spain, they only make about €16,547 (EUR).
Below are the average salaries of hospice aides in five other European countries according to the Economic Research Institute:
- Luxembourg: €33,818 (EUR)/yr
- Denmark: €32,444 (EUR)/yr
- Netherlands: €29.601 (EUR)/yr
- Ireland: €25,864 (EUR)/yr
- France: €20,911 (EUR)/yr
What makes a good hospice aide?
Hospice aides must understand that their work is just as important as any medical procedure. They can help patients feel at ease and comfortable during what may be one of their most difficult times in life.
Hospice aides must exhibit compassion and patience, but it can also be helpful if they have previous experience working with sick or terminally ill people.
After all, seeing someone on death’s door every day can take its toll on anyone.