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Live-in caregivers work for public and private agencies that provide home care services for elderly or disabled individuals who need around-the-clock monitoring and assistance when performing daily activities. Caregivers also may work independently, when a patient or a patient's family hires them directly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a federal agency that measures labor market activity, you need training and a desire to help others to qualify as a live-in caregiver.
Education and Training
Live-in caregivers generally don't need a high school diploma, according to BLS. A medical professional working with the patient, an experienced aide, the patient's family or the patient will show you what to do. Caregivers who work for agencies that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid need to complete a 75-hour training or certification program. This training helps the caregiver obtain skills in emergency response, personal hygiene and infection control. You also will learn how to safely move the patient, read and record vital signs and understand principles of basic nutrition.
A live-in caregiver may need to perform a variety of duties for a client, including light housekeeping and homemaking tasks such as doing the laundry, changing bed linens, shopping for food, planning and preparing meals. The caregiver also may help their client get out of bed, bathe, dress and groom. You may need to drive or accompany your client to medical appointments and accomplish other errands. Live-in caregivers also provide instruction and psychological support to the client.
Health Aide Duties
With additional training, a live-in caregiver may need to provide basic health-related services, such as monitoring the client's pulse, temperature and respiration rate. You may need to help the client perform a physician-recommended exercise routine and administer prescribed medicine. The patient may require you change dressings, give massages, provide skin care or help him use braces or artificial limbs. After receiving training, live-in caregivers also may need to help a client use a ventilator or other medical equipment used in home care.
A key quality for a live-in caregiver is desire to help people. Other soft skills include compassion, patience and emotional stability. A caregiver should maintain a positive attitude, be dependable, responsible, tactful, honest and discreet. Some facilities or clients may ask you to take a physical examination and a competency evaluation as a part of the hiring process. The client also may request a criminal background check and require that you have good driving record.
2016 Salary Information for Home Health Aides
Home health aides earned a median annual salary of $22,600 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, home health aides earned a 25th percentile salary of $19,890, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $25,760, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 911,500 people were employed in the U.S. as home health aides.
Cassie M. Chew is a multimedia journalist who covers politics, health care, education policy and technology news for print and online newspapers, magazines and trade press journals. When she's not pursuing a story, Chew enjoys independent film, biographies and books about nutrition and health. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.