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Personal Care Attendant Course and Training Information

Personal care attendants--also called home health aides--assist chronically ill or injured patients with daily tasks. Home health care agencies, hospices and patients' families employ personal care attendants. Those interested in the profession might consider earning a certificate or associate's degree in home health care. Some may also wish to pursue certification to practice in their state.

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Essential Information

Training and certification requirements for personal care attendants vary by state. Some states permit on-the-job training by a hospice or agency. Under this training method, personal care attendants work with registered nurses and experienced aides. They learn to interact with patients by assisting experienced caretakers in their duties.

Other states require candidates to attend training programs and pass certification exams before they work with patients. These credentials are also needed for employment with agencies that accept Medicare and Medicaid payments. Most training options are certificates or associate's degree programs offered by community and technical colleges. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice offers certification exams.

Sample List of Personal Care Attendant Classes

Below are some of the courses found in training programs for personal care attendants offered by agencies and schools.

CPR Course

The class combines lectures and hands-on practice with simulators to train students to properly perform CPR. Students learn methods for clearing airway obstructions and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). They practice providing CPR to infants, adults and children as a solo responder and as a two-person team. Successfully completing the course prepares students for basic life support certification as either a heart saver or health care provider from the American Heart Association (AHA).

First Aid and CPR Course

This course builds upon CPR class training, allowing students to improve their CPR skills and acquire basic first aid skills as well. Course materials teach immediate care procedures for stroke and heart attack victims. Students also learn treatment methods for burns, fractures, bites and other injuries. They study signs and care for shock, diabetic reactions and internal bleeding.

Personal Care Attendant Course

Students acquire the skills needed to assist clients who have chronic illnesses or injuries. They discuss and practice techniques for assisting patients in moving around their homes, with special attention to safety processes when using walkers and wheelchairs. The class also covers topics like personal hygiene, managing medications and infection control. Successfully completing the course qualifies individuals for employment with home health care agencies.

Early Childhood Personal Care Attendant Course

Instructors teach the skills needed to serve as personal care attendants for infants and children under the age of eight. Lessons cover the stages of a child's development, nutrition and first aid procedures for children. They also discuss signs of child abuse and teach the legal and ethical requirements for personal care aides who suspect it. Course material prepares aides for employment in childcare centers, foster care facilities or a child's home.

School Age Child Personal Care Attendant Course

Aspiring personal care attendants explore concepts in childhood development, illnesses and injuries common to older children. Course materials also address the nutritional needs of older children, socialization behaviors and indications of child abuse. Students develop the skills needed to work as personal care aides in schools, detention centers, private homes and foster care facilities.

Elder Care Personal Care Attendant Course

Students undertake lessons for communicating with elderly patients and study emotional support skills. They also learn care and nursing procedures in order to help patients prepare food, dress and bathe. Course materials cover nutritional needs of elderly patients and medication management. Completing the class qualifies individuals to work in assisted living facilities and private homes as home health aides.

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