Home health aides are responsible for administering medication, performing personal care tasks and general housekeeping and maintenance tasks for patients. Home health agencies require home health aides to pass state-regulated training certificate programs before working with patients. Home health aides can meet these requirements by enrolling in home health aide courses or programs offered by local vocational or nursing schools. Courses and training may also be available online. Training programs vary by state and employer, but most require aides to reach a minimum of 16 training hours in the classroom and in hands-on care, in addition to passing a competency exam. Additionally, home health aides can seek voluntary certification to demonstrate proficiency in home health care.
Home Health Aide Certificate Program
Home health aide certificate programs provide courses on patient care, basic medical care, emergency response and housekeeping duties. Certificate programs usually require one semester of study in which students learn to care for residents by administering medications, cooking, cleaning, organizing household goods and assisting with personal hygiene. They also learn to take vital signs like pulse and blood pressure. Certificate programs generally meet the training requirements needed to work as a home health aide. These programs may offer courses in:
- Medical terminology
- Home health care and patient support
- Health care supervision
- Home maintenance and organizational skills
Certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice
Voluntary certification is available from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Certification from the NAHC requires aides to complete 75 hours of training and pass a comprehensive home health exam. With voluntary certification from the NAHC, home health aides may find increased career prospects and hourly wages.
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Certification as a Certified Nurse Assistant
A home health aide can also seek certification as a certified nurse assistant (CNA). To become a CNA, an aide must complete 75 hours of state-regulated training and pass a comprehensive home health exam. Because the duties, training and skills required of CNAs are similar to those of home health aides, many employers hire CNAs as home health aides.
The NAHC holds conferences, symposiums, workshops and expositions each year. Most conferences are two to four days long and provide home health aides and other personal care workers with invaluable networking opportunities. Conferences are usually held in large cities, though information from conferences and symposiums is available on NAHC's website. Home health and hospice conferences discuss home health practices, trends in patient care and leadership strategies for supervisory home health aides.
Home health care seminars or practicum opportunities lasting one to four hours may be available from community or technical colleges that offer home health aide certificate programs. Seminars usually discuss a broad scope of home health care practices, including the housekeeping, maintenance and organizational skills needed to succeed as a home health aide.
Home health aide certificate programs are one semester programs that teach students the knowledge and skills needed to travel to individuals' homes to administer medication and perform personal care tasks and general housekeeping.