The duties performed by a nursing assistant and a home health aide are largely similar. The only difference is that the former ones can work in any branches of the healthcare industry such as hospitals, nursing homes, day-care facilities, etc. The latter, as per the designation, works in homes where they look after one patient. They may do this job by freelancing or through home health aide agencies. Home health aide can also work in the resident-care facility.
However, the procedure to work in either of these positions is the same. If you are interested in providing basic nursing care to people in their homes, then you have to get nursing assistant certification for home health aide.
Your duties, as a home health aide, will be to assist patients in common tasks that are part of an everyday routine. You need to take care of the grooming and hygiene needs of patients.
This means you will have to clean them up by giving them a bath, change the previous day dress and put the new one, help them in brushing or brush their teeth, lift and carry them to the toilet or provide them bedpans, do the cleaning, laundry and shopping for medicine, grocery and clothes.
What does Home Health Aides do?
Home health aides work for patients who are seriously ill, cannot move or have limited mobility, struggling with an age-related problem, and cannot respond or communicate with other people.
The home health aide certification program takes care that students are ready to look after the elderly, disabled, mentally, and physically weak.
They learn how to read doctors’ prescription and give medication, check vital signs, clean and dress wounds, give massages, assist in a range of motion exercises, and to handle emergencies.
Home Health Aids Training Program
Home health aide training is provided by many educational centers and healthcare settings. Candidates who are dreaming about getting into this healthcare profession need not have to obtain their high school diploma.
The only difference in doing the training with outside and within a healthcare setting is the course cost and its duration. While the training centers would provide you lectures, workshops, and presentations, the healthcare setting would manage your training in-house. The latter one is more affordable and reliable since they will take care of your expenses and offer you a job at the same time. However, you need to show them that you can handle all responsibilities with dexterity and adroitness by taking a competency evaluation test.
The NHAC can provide you more details about training programs, and the related-law. The NHAC will also oblige you if you request them voluntary certification. However, depending on your state, you may also need to complete CNA training and pass the certification exam.
Home health aide training includes training on varied subjects related to healthcare. You will learn to take care of elderly people, helping patients suffering from HIV/Aids, introduction to body mechanism, the importance of nutrition, providing physical therapy, patient communication, patient mobility, phlebotomy, use of medical and laboratory equipment, recording and understanding vital signs, respiratory therapy training, etc.
You can take training through community colleges and vocational schools. There is no set of limitations about the duties performed by home health aides. You should expect to get training in doing other jobs such as cleaning, laundry, and preparing meals. Since home health aides mostly work in a single home where the family is mostly out for their jobs, you should be ready to take care of the patient without disturbing them.
Community colleges and schools offer home health aide training classes. Admission is open for students who are high school graduates.
Classroom and clinical training are provided during the course. The course will cover a wide area of topics students will need during taking care of patients.
They will have knowledge about healthcare basic concepts, performing CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), first aid, nutrition, symptoms of diseases, reading and taking vitals, life support, and medical terminology.
The requirements for home health aide certification vary among states. The residing state will decide whether students need to pass the evaluation exam, or they can accept your service if the employing agency is certified.
Other requirements also include passing an entrance test where students’ mathematical skills and English writing and speaking skills will be evaluated.
Further, they will have to pass the criminal background check, and produce a medical certificate of their health check-up. However, it is better to consult the National Association for Homecare and Hospice (NAHC) to learn the training requirements.
Students can enroll in the home health aide certification program offered by the American Red Cross Society. The training program conducted by them lasts for four to eight weeks depending on the schedule you have chosen. The daily schedule will last for four weeks, and the night for eight weeks.
Students will have more scope if they do the course offered by the Red Cross since the training course will cover topics that will help them to get a job in any long-term care facility, nursing home, hospitals and patients’ home.
Once students complete the training course, they have to pass the exam to become a home health aide or a nursing assistant.
There is no online option for taking home health certification program. Even if you manage to get somehow, your state will not accept it.
Therefore, before opting for this type of training, consult the local nursing board. Also, before enrolling, ensure that the instructors from the HHA classes are the best in the business and you will have a better education by getting an education from them.
Duties of Home Health Aids
The duties of a home health aide in a patient’s home or in a residential care facility will be to check the temperature, respiration rates, and pulse. You will have to take care of critically ill patients and those having problems with mobility. When caring for such patients, you will have to act like a family member. They need assistance while bathing, changing dress, brushing teeth and hair, eating food, moving from bed to wheelchairs, and sitting them on an ambulance or a vehicle to transport them to the treatment center.
Home health aides also have to assist patients in performing exercises as prescribed. Taking care of their recreational and emotional needs is also included in the duties. Some patients will ask you to read the news, or write a letter or send an email to their distant relatives or friends. You will have to oblige them with their request.
When you are taking the home health aide job, you should be ready to do all sorts of boring work. This may include cleaning household utensils, laundry, and doing grocery shopping. Your employer will pay for the extra work if you are doing it on their behalf. If you are working as an independent caregiver, then the family of the patient will pay the charges.
Due to the aging population, lots of families and home health agencies need a nursing assistant. Therefore, job opportunities for home health aides are excellent.
Even the U.S. Bureau of Labor report has confirmed that the demand will keep growing for another six years. Getting a job will not be a problem. Certified home health can earn an average hourly salary of $10 or $12. This figure may go up as and when one develops experience.
Employment opportunity for home health aides is high and expected to rise from 2008 to 2018. Not only residential care facilities but also independent family needs the assistance of home health aide to take care of their near and dear ones while they are on their jobs. If job stability is what you are looking for, then you should take home health aide training and secure your life.
The healthcare industry has come up a long way with new technologies and improvements in medical services.
Since people are bound to face healthcare problems, whether one is rich or poor, this industry is going to survive for many more centuries. Hence, by doing the nursing assistant certification course for home health aide, you will work as long as you wish to continue your work.
Given the diverse nature of a home health aide job, lots of names have been given to this single designation. Each state calls them differently as direct-care workers, residential assistants (RA), home caregivers, certified nursing assistants (CNA), and patient care techniques. What remains the same is their selfless and compassionate attitude towards patients critically ill, elderly, and disabled. The services and care they provide even help the adults who have met with accidents or unlucky incidences. They are most reliable when there is a need for personal care to any member of the family, and when the family has to continue with the job to manage the expenses.
Home health aide training makes candidates perfect in providing care to individuals at a home, or in a residential care facility. The services or care also depends on the area of specialization they have done during the training. They can either specialize in taking care of elderly patients, adults with physical and mental disabilities, terminally ill, children who have grown-up physically but not mentally.