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  • Writer's pictureMR Waridah

Things that You Need to Know: Healthcare Assistant (HCA)


Healthcare Assistant (HCA)

The role of the Healthcare Assistant (HCA) is becoming an increasingly valuable and important part of the provision of care in health and social services. HCA contributes to the provision of modern care, especially in Indonesia. The roles of HCA in supporting other health professionals are the key elements in the health sector. Then, the next questions are, what is HCA? Where can HCA work? And what are the roles and duties of the HCA? This article was written to answer these questions.


WHAT IS HCA?

Healthcare Assistant is a vital component of the health workforce. HCA is a member of a multidisciplinary team that supports client care under the supervision and direction of the nurse (Fee et al., 2020). HCA is involved in patient/client care either directly or indirectly. In Indonesia, according to the regulations of UU RI No. 36 (2014) about Health Workers, healthcare assistants must have a minimum qualification of secondary education in the health sector. The goal of HCA is to ensure that patients have as comfortable and stress-free experiences as possible due to their health conditions.


WHERE CAN HCA WORK?

In general, HCAs can work in public, private, and voluntary care facilities. Treatment facilities where HCAs can work range from general hospitals dealing with acute illnesses, maternity and paediatric hospitals, to long-term care facilities (Kelly, 2008). Long-term facilities can be public, voluntary or private hospitals and nursing homes. HCAs also work in the community, in child care facilities, day hospitals, and can even take place in the client's own home.


WHAT ARE THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF HCA?

HCA in practice is required to apply treatment holistically. Therefore, HCA must ensure that the individual's biopsychosocial and spiritual components are met. In this case, there are 10 roles and responsibilities of HCA (McHugh, 2018):

  1. Communicating, HCA plays a role in maintaining communication such as active listening, the purpose of which is to exchange information with clients and nursing staff.

  2. Breathing, in the context of breathing, HCA's role is to detect any changes in signs in the client's breathing pattern, and report them to the nurse. HCA can be a nursing assistant staff in helping patients to position patients whose purpose is to make it easier for patients to breathe.

  3. Eating and Drinking, in the aspect of eating and drinking, HCA, under the supervision of a nurse, contributes to meeting the client's eating and drinking needs.

  4. Intimate Care - Elimination of Waste, HCA can offer the client elimination treatment if the client needs it.

  5. Controlling Body Temperature, HCA plays a role in helping to monitor the patient's body temperature and report it to the nurse to ensure that the patient is treated properly.

  6. Intimate Care - Personal Cleansing and Dressing, the Health Care Assistant will contribute to patient comfort and personal care by assisting them, when necessary, with personal cleaning and dressing activities.

  7. Mobilizing, HCA in the aspect of mobilizing means consulting with nursing staff to help mobilize clients, for example from bed to wheelchair, and vice versa.

  8. Death and Dying, aspects of death and dying in patients, for example in critical patients, need to be fulfilled by HCA by protecting the client's dignity and being compassionate to clients and their families in their critical period.

  9. Collaboration in Other Ward Activities, collaborating with the environmental team is part of the HCA role. The HCA is a key member of the ward team, and may occasionally be asked to perform some activities indirectly related to patient care.

  10. Maintaining a Safe Environment, keeping clients in a safe environment is also part of the HCA role. In this aspect, HCA can eliminate things that endanger patient safety, for example, applying ergonomic principles when moving patients.


CONCLUSION

HCA is a member of the team that supports client care under the supervision and direction of the nurse. HCAs can work in any sector, including the public, private, or voluntary sectors. The role of HCA has a very wide range, and the goal is to fulfill the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects (holistic aspects) of the client.

 
REFERENCES

Fee, A., et al. (2020). The roles, responsibilities and practices of healthcare assistants in out-of-hours community

palliative care: A systematic scoping review. Palliative Medicine, 34(8), 976-988. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216320929559

Kelly, A. (2008). Healthcare Support: A Textbook for Healthcare Assistants. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Retrieved from

http://www.gilleducation.ie/AcuCustom/SiteName/DAM/087/Healthcare_Support_-_Look_Inside_Sample.pdf

McHugh, S. (2018). Review of Role and Function of Health Care Assistants. Retrieved from

https://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/resources/hrstrategiesreports/health-care-assistant-review-final-report-2018.pdf

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