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Home Health Aide Training

Out of all medical careers, training to be a Home Health Aide is fairly easy to come by. In fact, home health care careers in general can be started with minimal education and experience. If you are looking for a rewarding and growing career field with many opportunities, this is the one! There are a number of training opportunities to help prepare you to care for patients.

Types of HHA Training

Nurse3You may find free online training sites that you can use to familiarize yourself with concepts and techniques you need to know to be a Home Health Aide. It will give you a good overview even before you start your job search or new position. In fact, the training may help you to land a job and even negotiate a larger starting salary.

Although online HHA training, in most cases, does not lead to certification it can be used as a sort of prep course towards completing actual certification training.  Many home health agencies do not require previous experience or certification and will provide on-the-job training. In most cases, the training is provided free of charge by the company. Sometimes you are required to commit a certain number of months working for the agency or you may be asked to pay for the training. In any case, starting employment with an agency that is willing to train is the best way to get your foot in the door.

Some people opt to pay for programs leading to HHA certification. These may vary widely state to state and among organizations offering the training. Some certification programs are given by organizations and colleges and may lead to the earning of continuing education units (CEUs) or college credits. This all depends on the program and may be reflected in the costs to enroll, which can run several hundreds of dollars and more.Regardless of the type of training, some programs may require you to already hold a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification.

A physical exam and medical tests, such as for TB (tuberculosis), may be required as well. You will need to complete a certain number of classroom and clinical hours for successful completion. Usually, textbooks and other training materials are included in any courses you take. The lengths of programs vary and can take several days to several months to complete.

Types of Patients Needing Home Health Care

As an HHA, you will primarily care for patients in their own homes or residential facilities. Although many patients are elderly, that’s not always the case. Patients often need home health care for illnesses and disabilities that may not be related to old age. If you’re working for agencies that provide services for hospice patients or through federally funded programs, HHA certification often is required. Following is a list of patients you may find yourself being responsible for:

Elderly womanElderly
• Chronically Ill
• Terminally Ill or Cancer Patients
• Physically Disabled
• Cancer Patients
• Infants or Children with Disabilities
• Mentally Disabled
• Therapy Patients
• Short Term Patients
• Hospice Patients

Home Health Care Topics Learned

Regardless of the HHA training you complete, they all cover basic topics to ensure that you are fully equipped to care for a variety of patients and their needs. You will be expected to learn about personal care, homemaking, medical care and miscellaneous tasks. These topics will be learned through classroom textbooks and manuals, as well as hands-on training often in a clinical setting with patients. You will be evaluated on your knowledge and performance of the following patient care skills:

Personal Care
• Bathing
• Oral Hygiene
• Dressing
• Skincare
• Grooming
• Shaving
• Ambulation
• Feeding

• Cooking
• Changing Beds
• Laundry
• Light Cleaning
• Vacuuming
• Dusting
• Shopping

Medical Care
Checking Vital Signs (e.g., blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiration)
• Assisting with Medications
• Changing Bandages
• Assisting with Therapeutic Exercise
• Knowledge of Diseases and Illnesses
• Infection Control
• Measuring Fluid Outtake/Intake
• Colostomy or Catheter Care
• Monitoring Patients

Record Keeping
• Running Errands
• Transporting to Appointments
• Entertaining Patient
• Companionship Training

Becoming a  Home Health Aide can seem overwhelming at first, but the programs take you step-by-step through all you need to know. Even if you have no experience or certification, you can learn how to be a good HHA. There are numerous programs everywhere. All it takes is making a decision and jumping in a program to get started. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to a satisfying career in home health.

Home Health Aide Certification

Certification to become an HHA isn’t always required by home health agencies. However, some organizations may require it if they receive government subsidies to provide services for Medicaid, Medicare or Hospice patients. Therefore, it is to your advantage to obtain certification when possible.

Many agencies provide training and certification classes. You also have the option of taking classes through colleges and other organizations that offer it. HHA certification prepares you for a health care career working in nursing care centers, patients’ homes and other facilities.

HHA Certification Programs

Certification programs vary depending on the organization offering the training. Some programs may be several hours to a couple of days in length, whereas other courses may be several weeks long. Most programs include a classroom portion where you learn textbook info and a clinical portion where you learn hands-on patient care. HHA certification often prepares you for certification at the state level.Just as the program offerings vary, the costs will vary as well. Some agencies will offer training at no cost to you once employed. In other cases, you may be required to pay a fee. Courses offered through colleges are often taken for credit. These programs may provide more in-depth training and can cost hundreds of dollars.

Home Health Aide Certification Requirements

Requirements to begin training to receive a Home Health Aide certification may vary from state to state and among different programs. In general, you will be required to have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. Typically, you must also be 18 years of age or older and you must be up-to-date on all required vaccinations. In addition, you may be required to pass a medical exam, background check and drug screening. Many advanced programs require prior completion of the Certified Nurse Aide(CNA)certification or other qualifications.

Certification Skills Learned

HHA certification training covers everything you need to know about taking care of elderly, disabled and/or chronically ill patients in their homes or other facilities. Skills are learned in the classroom and techniques are practiced with hands-on activities.

• Personal Hygiene
• Home Safety
• Infection Control
• Medical Terminology
• Illnesses and Diseases
• Physical and Sensory Disabilities
• Range of Motion and Exercise
• Monitoring Patients and Vital Signs
• Homemaking
• Ambulation and Transfers
• Food Preparation and Feeding
• Record Keeping
• First Aid
• Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
• Mental Health
• Communication
• Responding to Emergencies
• Special Needs
• Patient Etiquette and Ethics
• Companionship

Benefits of Certification

Obtaining a certification as an HHA not only prepares you for a new career but it may also help you to be a more competitive applicant. In addition, a certification may result in you starting with a higher salary. In any case, being HHA certified will give you peace of mind knowing that you have the skills and knowledge to care for patients in need. Being properly trained will make your job less stressful and much more rewarding.