Home care assistants, assist the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and/or terminally ill. Home care assistants often work in private homes to help patients with daily tasks such as personal grooming and light meal preparation. General housekeeping may also be expected of a home care assistant.
Home care assistants are expected to make their patients' lives easier and more comfortable. Their duties may include transporting patients to doctor's appointments, making beds, doing laundry, preparing meals, giving patients their medications, or running errands. They may change the patient's bandages, check vital signs, or simply apply lotion to dry skin areas. Some light cleaning may also be part of the job of a home care assistant, even if only to maintain sanitary conditions in the home environment.
Patients may need help bathing themselves, and it will be up to assistants to get them into the bath or shower. Assistants may also need to help patients get to and from the toilet, and sometimes it is necessary to change a patient's adult diaper if he or she is bed-bound. It is extremely important that the patient be allowed to maintain his or her dignity during these times.
For recreation, assistants can play card games or board games with patients, because it is a way of keeping them mentally active and alert. Crossword puzzles or arts and crafts are equally helpful activities because they can absorb the patient's attention or liven up the day. Even sitting with patients in the backyard or on the front porch for a couple of hours can be beneficial. The fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for the patients' outlook and well-being.