Under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner, home health aides may be allowed to give a client medication.
Home health and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, but some positions do not require it. Those working in certified home health or hospice agencies must complete formal training and pass a standardized test.
Home health and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some positions do not require a formal educational credential. Postsecondary nondegree award programs are available at community colleges and vocational schools.
Home health and personal care aides may be trained in housekeeping tasks, such as cooking for clients who have special dietary needs. Aides may learn basic safety techniques, including how to respond in an emergency. If state certification is required, specific training may be needed.
Training may be completed on the job or through programs. Training typically includes learning about personal hygiene, reading and recording vital signs, infection control, and basic nutrition.
In addition, individual clients may have preferences that aides need time to learn.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Home health and personal care aides may need to meet requirements specific to the state in which they work. For example, some states require home health aides to have a license or certification, which may involve completing training and passing a background check and a competency exam. For more information, check with your state board of health.
Certified home health or hospice agencies that receive payments from federally funded programs, such as Medicare, must comply with regulations regarding aides’ employment. Private care agencies that do not receive federal funds may have other employment requirements that vary by state.
Aides also may be required to obtain certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Detail oriented. Home health and personal care aides must adhere to specific rules and protocols to help care for clients. They must carefully follow instructions, such as how to care for wounds, that they receive from other healthcare workers.
Emotional skills. Home health and personal care aides must be sensitive to clients’ needs, especially while in extreme pain or distress. Aides must be compassionate and enjoy helping people.
Integrity. Home health and personal care aides must be dependable and trustworthy so that clients and their families can rely on them. They also should be respectful when tending to personal activities, such as helping clients bathe.
Interpersonal skills. Home health and personal care aides must be able to communicate with clients and other healthcare workers. They need to listen closely to what they are being told and convey information clearly.
Physical stamina. Home health and personal care aides should be comfortable doing physical tasks. They might need to be on their feet for many hours or do strenuous tasks, such as lifting or turning clients.