Home Health Care Training Programs and Courses
Home health, home care or personal aides assist older, sick or disabled adults in hospices, other home health agencies or a client's home. A nurse directly supervises them. Aspiring home health aides may enroll in a certificate program to receive training as mandated by the government or may be trained on-the-job.
Home Health Care Certificate
Home health aides generally work for agencies funded by Medicaid or Medicare (i.e. receive government funding), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). They are required to complete, at minimum, a 75-hour training program. Generally, applicants must be certified as a nursing assistant (CNA). The home health care certificate is an add-on to the CNA certificate. To be certified as a CNA, students complete 75 hours of training. The health care aide certificate is a short training program that allows CNAs to become certified home health aides (HHAs).
Home care or personal aides are generally employed by private or public agencies to provide in home care. They are usually trained on-the-job. They have clients that they visit and can work independently or under the supervision of a manager, social worker or nurse.
Home health care certificate programs should contain a practical training component to provide students with direct experience in patient interaction. Courses should also cover basic nutrition, safe patient transfer techniques, infection control, basic life support and medical terminology. In addition, they may learn to take a patient's vital signs, give medication, change dressings and help with exercises.
To become a CNA, a student must have a high school diploma. Home care or personal aides do not need a high school diploma. Applicants to a HHA program, must be in good health, pass a background check and be able to drive.
Certificate programs for aspiring home health care professionals typically take no longer than one semester to complete. Courses cover the most basic and practical elements of the profession and should prepare students for entry-level careers as well as certification. Some examples include:
- Introduction to home health care
- Basic life support
- Checking vital signs
- Medical terminology
- Aging process and nutrition
- Medication administration
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 2 million home health aides worked in states across the country in 2010 (www.bls.gov). More than 317,000 of these individuals worked for home health care services, while others worked for mental health facilities and nursing care facilities. The BLS reports that employment is expected to increase by 69% from 2010 to 2020. The annual median salary for the profession was $20,820 as of May 2012.
Licensure and Certification
Since home health aides work for state funded agencies, they must be licensed. They must take and pass a state certification program in order to become licensed. Some states might have additional requirements. Licensure is not required for home care or personal aides.
Home health care professionals are not required to gain certification. However, voluntary certification is offered through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC).
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