If you are interested in becoming a professional caregiver, you may need certification. Certain positions require specialized training. Here’s what you need to know about the home health aide (HHA) certificate.
What Is a Home Health Aide Certificate?
A home health aide certificate shows you have met the standards to be a home health aide according to federal and state codes. Most programs take anywhere from 75 to 180 hours to complete, and they include both classroom and clinical or on-the-job training. To keep your certificate current, you also must participate in ongoing education programs. Typically, this involves 12 hours of continuing education every 12 months.
Why Is Certification Necessary?
Since HHAs work in patient’s homes, usually they are not directly supervised. Therefore, they must know their job forward and backward. A rigorous training process will show you are competent and qualified to successfully handle both everyday duties and possible emergencies. Furthermore, federal law says any healthcare agency receiving funds from Medicare or Medicaid can ONLY hire certified HHAs. States and even individual agencies may have specific certification requirements as well.
What Topics Does HHA Training Cover?
Your HHA training will cover the following topics:
- Communication skills
- Observation, reporting, and documentation of patient status
- Reading and recording temperature, pulse, and respiration
- Understanding and reporting changes in skin conditions
- Infection prevention
- Basic elements of body functioning
- Adequate nutrition and fluid intake
- Techniques in performing personal hygiene and grooming
- Safe transfer techniques
- Normal range of motion and positioning
- Maintaining a clean, safe and healthy environment
- Recognizing and handling emergencies
- Physical, emotional, and developmental needs of patients
Are All HHA Certificates the Same?
The federal government requires 75 hours of training, but many states have more rigorous standards. For example, in Vermont, HHAs must be licensed nursing assistants (LNA). This means 80 hours of training, 30 of which need to be in a clinical setting. Other states like Massachusetts and Connecticut simply follow federal HHA guidelines. And remember, if you work for an agency, that organization may have additional training requirements too.
How Do You Know If You’re Enrolled in the Right Program?
If you are taking an HHA training program at a local hospital, medical facility, or college, chances are this will meet your state’s requirements. However, it’s always a smart idea to double-check. Online HHA programs (especially from out-of-state institutions) will most likely only meet federal standards. Finally, if you are planning to work through a health care agency, your best bet is to contact them first. They will tell you exactly what HHA programs they accept. Plus, many agencies provide free, in-house training. So, you’ll save time and money and receive your certification without any unexpected glitches.
Are You Interested in Earning Your Home Health Aide Certificate in Massachusetts?
Anodyne Staffing provides FREE home health aide certification to our employees! You can start working as a caregiver and work your way up to HHA… all while earning a paycheck. Plus, we’ll automatically make sure your certification meets Massachusetts state standards. Contact us today to learn more!