Home health aides give patients basic home and medical care and unlike other medical practitioners such as nursing assistants, they are specifically trained to work in the patient’s home. This is the major difference between a home health aide and a nurse’s aide or assistant, the locations that they are expected to work in. Due to chronic illness or even accident recovery, patients are in need of the services offered by home health aides. In such situations on top of basic medical care, patients will require assistance with meal preparation, running errands and light housekeeping.
It is no surprise therefore, that the educational requirements for one to begin home health aide training are minimal. A high school diploma or GED is usually not required. Typically most training programs require that one is a citizen of the US or a permanent resident, is 18 years or older, can read write and speak fluent English at a sixth grade level or higher, pass a drug screening test and has no felonies on their record. In some instances, an aptitude test for math and English may be a requirement. After this stage has been completed, practical or hands-on training from a licensed professional such as a registered nurse will be the next thing that is needed. Basic medical procedures, such as taking blood pressure, recording medical notes, administering medication and infection control are all on the menu during the training period. The certification requirements can vary between different agencies and states. Employers, who receive compensation from Medicare, are required by law to enroll home health aide professionals, who have received standard training though. Specifically, licensure requires that the practitioner has completed 16 hours of clinical experience and 75 hours of in-class work.
Because the demand for home health aides is so high, free home health aide training is being offered by many home care agencies searching for motivated and qualified workers. For those intending to undertake home health aide training, the National Association for Home care and Hospice (NAHH) offers certification for those intending to take the NAHH home health aide exam. In addition, this association’s website has information on job listings, certification for several medical programs and more, all relevant to the home health aide profession. It can be a good resource for the curious or even those already in the field of home health care seeking to grow in their chosen career.
Given the low barrier to entry, as there are options to receive free training, a career in home care can be started with a minimal financial investment. As one grows in confidence, proficiency, experience, training and reputation, they can also expect to help patients in need. The career of a home health aide involves a wide variety of options usually based on locality. You should check out your locality for both training and employment in this currently growing field.
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