Should You Be a Hospice Aide?
Home health aides (HHAs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who care for hospice patients frequently acknowledge the immense satisfaction they feel at the end of each day. They use such phrases as “it brings me joy to be able to help others,” “I’m proud to make a difference,” “I have the most meaningful job,” “it brightens my day to get a simple smile,” “I feel like part of the family.”
Typical duties of a hospice aide
Hospice aides are core members of a VITAS interdisciplinary team. They carry out of plan of care with a physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, bereavement specialist and volunteer to make sure that patients receive regular, personal, hands-on care to feel better, look better and enjoy quality of life at the end of life. They also work independently, traveling to patients’ homes, assisted living communities and nursing homes for regular visits and bedside care.
Hospice health aides perform a combination of light housekeeping and personal hygiene duties, including shopping, bathing, dressing, feeding, hair care and oral care for patients. They change linens, ensure patients are comfortable, and spend time talking and listening during bedside visits. Most importantly, they make a difference in patients’ lives at the end of life.
Here’s how one hospice aide describes her job: “I took care of my grandmother, and when she passed away, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why I chose to be a hospice aide. I get to be someone’s person when they feel as if they have no one else.”
Requirements for hospice aide jobs
Candidates for hospice aide jobs must be flexible, able to visit patients when they need to be seen. What other skills are needed to be a successful VITAS hospice aide?
- Must have 1 year of direct patient care experience in acute or sub-acute care
- Must have a 75-hour Home Health Aide Certificate and good documentation/record-keeping skills
- Must be able to travel to jobs per each assignment
- Must be comfortable dealing with and discussing dying, grief and end-of-life issues
The unique nature of hospice care
VITAS hospice aides can work in a variety of settings, including private homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, on-call home care pools, and in continuous care settings throughout the US.
As the nation’s leading hospice provider, VITAS offers competitive pay and robust benefits.
But many hospice aides say the biggest benefit of all is making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
“I provide so much more than just medical attention or housekeeping,” says another aide. “I provide compassion and kindness. Every day, I get to say that someone is having a better day because of the care I have provided them. What could be better than that?”