Depending on the state in which one lives, home care providers may need to be certified and have completed Home Health Aide classes in order to be eligible for hire.
Even if the state you live in does not require HHAs to have formal training, most agencies and employers prefer to hire someone who has completed a home health aide training program.
Home Health Aide Classes – A Closer Look
Home health classes vary in length depending on where you enroll, but can usually be completed in a semester or less. They always involve both theory and clinical practice and, although the information covered may be somewhat similar to that provided in nurse aide classes, there are differences.
For example, students will learn how caring for a patient in their home is different than caring for someone in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
A Typical HHA Course Syllabus
Although the syllabus for home health aide classes may vary slightly depending on where you take classes, in general you will learn home health aide responsibilities, skills of ensuring a safe home environment and home emergency procedures. Additionally, students can expect to learn the following information in home health aide classes:
Students will learn how to take vital sign measurements, such as temperature, pulse, respiration, oxygen level and blood pressure. Students will also need to understand when vital signs are outside of normal limits.
Home health aide classes will also provide information on proper infection control. Learning infection control techniques helps reduce infection in both the patient and caregiver.
Some home health aides may be preparing meals for patients. It is important to learn what constitutes good nutrition and how to incorporate healthy foods into the diet. Meal planning and preparation will also be included in home health aide classes.
Emotional Care of the Housebound
In some situations home health aides will be working with elderly patients or those who spend a lot of time in their home. Understanding the emotional needs patients may face, such as feelings of isolation and depression is vital for home health aides.
Assessing the Social Needs of the Patient
Home health aides may also provide companionship for patients. This may involve reading to patients, playing board games or going for walks. Students will learn how to assess the social needs of patients and what activities may help meet those needs.
Clinical Hours – Your Chance to Get Hands-on Experience
In most cases, students in home health classes can expect to have classroom instruction, but hands on experience is also included in classes. For example, students may have the opportunity to practice taking vital signs on each other. Some programs also provide students with the chance to work with residents of assisted living facilities in order to get additional real life experience.
Working as a home health aide can be a rewarding and stable career choice. According to the United States Department of Labor, jobs for home health aides are expected to increase about 70 percent by the year 2020. Not only is there job security in this growing field, but it is a chance to help someone continue to live in their home while having their health needs met.