What Is a Health Care Assistant?

Health Care Assistants (HCAs) are front-line care providers who promote and maintain the health, safety, independence, comfort, and well-being of individuals and their families.

An HCA provides personal care assistance and support to a variety of clients. This includes providing care to older adults, people living with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, and clients who are receiving palliative care.

HCAs are responsible for assisting clients with their mobility, activities of daily living, and personal care. They observe and monitor their clients, and are responsible for completing records and reporting changes and unsafe conditions to their supervisor. HCAs are supervised by nurses and other regulated health care professionals (e.g., doctors, nurse practitioners).

HCAs may also do other activities related to the plan of care, including light housekeeping tasks or social activities with clients (e.g., reading a book to or playing a game with a client; accompanying a client on an outing).

What other titles are Health Care Assistants commonly referred to as?

  • Care Aides
  • Resident Care Attendants
  • Community Health Workers
  • Home Support Workers
  • Assisted-living Workers
  • Patient Care Attendants
  • Community Care Assistants

What do Health Care Assistants do?

  • Assist clients with bathing, grooming, dressing, and other personal hygiene activities
  • Assist with meals
  • Assist with mobility, positioning, lifts, and transfers
  • Observe and monitor their clients and their environments
  • Report changes or unsafe situations to their supervisor
  • Provide timely and organized care, and respect their clients’ preferences
  • Based on an established plan of care, assist clients with medications and other special care procedures
  • Communicate with clients, their families, and the health care team

Where do Health Care Assistants work?

  • Continuing care homes
  • Specialized dementia care units
  • Assisted-living residences
  • Community home support
  • Group homes
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Hospice and palliative care centres

Who employs Health Care Assistants?

  • Health authorities
  • Private care providers
  • Not-for-profit charitable agencies
  • Community and family service associations
  • Private clients

What are characteristics and qualities of an ideal Health Care Assistant?

  • Be caring, compassionate, friendly, and respectful
  • Be understanding, patient, gentle, and non-judgmental
  • Have good physical and mental health
  • Display maturity, reliability, and dependability
  • Show strong organizational and time-management skills
  • Communicate effectively and get along with people

Why should you consider a career as a Health Care Assistant?

  • It is a rewarding career: you can make a positive difference daily
  • It offers fulfillment in providing person-centered care
  • It presents diverse and inspiring career opportunities
  • It provides job stability in a high-demand profession
  • It offers competitive wages and benefits
  • It allows for career advancement opportunities within health care
  • It offers options for permanent or flexible work schedules

Choose a Career in Providing Care

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