Duties of a CNA Working in Home Health Care

What types of clients does a CNA care for in home health care? The home health nurse aide profession is one of the fastest growing health care occupations. A nurse assistant employed by a home health care agency is often referred to as a home health aide. Home health services are being particularly sought after by those who are elderly and do not wish to leave the comfort of their homes in exchange for a room in a long term care facility.

Other clients who benefit from the services of a nurse aide in home health care include those who had surgical procedures and once their condition is stable are sent home in the care of a visiting nurse and a home health nurse aide.Home health care agencies also serve those who are chronically ill or suffering from various long-term conditions which require the services of a nurse aide. Some examples of clients who require the services of a home health nurse aide include those who are suffering from the effects of a prior stroke, heart attack, those with chronic respiratory problems like emphysema, diabetic patients with various disabilities, and generally weak, frail, elderly clients.

What are the responsibilities of a home health nurse aide? Similar to a nurse aide working in long-term care, a home health CNA has a wide range of responsibilities that focus on providing basic client care and comfort. The terms “total client care” are often used to summarize the CNA job duties in home health care, and are meant to include physical and emotional care as well as home safety, fire prevention, and nutrition issues. Since a client's home is a completely different work environment than a long-term care facility, it is a nurse aide's responsibility and part of her job duties to ensure client safety, comfort, and security. A typical home health aide assignment starts with getting the client ready for the day, by assisting with bathing, toileting, grooming, and dressing.

Unlike a CNA working in a nursing home who may ask a co-worker for help, the home health aide must be physically strong in order to accomplish all the care taking tasks by herself. Part of the nursing assistant duties include checking vital signs and inspecting a client for bruises, open wounds, or other skin ailments. Depending on each client condition, the nurse aide is there to assist with performing range of motion exercises, with lifting or transferring the patient to a chair or wheelchair, and in some cases to assist with walking.

Proper knowledge of any equipment that is used in caring for a client is essential. Another aspect of a home health aide's job is performing homemaking services which include vacuuming, dusting, cooking light meals and other essential cleaning tasks needed in a client's home. The homemaking services are an integral part of maintaining a clean, safe, and healthy living environment. The human and social aspect of a home health nurse aide's job include providing emotional support and actively listening to the client.

Working as a home health aide has become an increasingly popular occupation that provides many advantages when compared to CNA jobs in other health care environments. Home health aides have only one patient to take care of at any one moment, without call bells to answer to and without a strict time allocated for each task. Therefore a home health nurse aide has more time for each client and is able to provide optimal, high quality care.

The home health aide work schedule has more flexibility, the care taking tasks are not rushed as it often happens in nursing homes, and more time is available to listen and provide comfort to a client's emotional needs. Studies have shown that home health nurse assistants experience less emotional stress associated with their jobs as compared to nurse aides employed in long-term care facilities. Certified nurse aides working for a home health care agency must be able to work independently, carry out the specific duties assigned by the LPN or RN in charge, maintain accurate ocumentation regarding the client's condition and progress, and keep records of all the tasks and services performed in a patient's home.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Niesha M. on July 23, 2013 at 05:09 AM
How long does it take to get the CNA certificate itself while in school taking courses?

Admin on July 25, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Nursing assistant programs vary in length depending on the school or facility offering the training. CNA courses may take anywhere between three to twelve weeks. Once you complete the training you may schedule the nurse aide competency test right away. Candidates who pass the examination become state certified right away and receive the actual certificate in a couple of weeks, usually within one month.

Can you share any tips or advice regarding CNA job interviews?

I am trying to get some info on where to start in the health care profession. Is it better to start as a CNA or LVN?

I am a pre-nursing student. Is it true that becoming a CNA and getting the experience, really helps you with clinicals in nursing school?

How can I tell if my CNA certificate is active? If it is not active how do I go about renewing it?

How can I get a copy of my CNA certification?

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CNA Training Requirements

There is a wide disparity between CNA training requirements among the states. The difference lies in the mandatory number of total training hours necessary to complete state-approved CNA classes.

While according to federal law each nursing assistant course should contain a minimum of seventy-five (75) instruction and clinical hours, individual states have the liberty to mandate extra training requirements for certified nursing assistants. The majority of states exceed the threshold federal minimum requirements for nurse aide training programs because they are considered insufficient to result in an optimal and safe level of care for clients.

A review of nationwide state requirements for nurse assistant courses has found that the following states have mandated highest number of CNA program hours: Maine with a minimum of 90 hours of theory, 20 hours of laboratory skills and 70 hours of clinical instruction for a total of 180 hours; California with one hundred and sixty (160) training hours; Delaware and Oregon each requiring one hundred and fifty (150) hours; followed by the state of Alaska with one hundred and forty (140) hours; Virginia, Arizona, and West Virginia have a minimum of one hundred and twenty (120) training hours for state-approved classes.

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