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The first place to look for home health aide training is at a company that employs aides. A home health aide, also called a personal attendant or homemaker, typically assists an elderly or disabled person with daily living tasks and to follow medical treatment plans. Aides usually receive direction and supervision from a nurse or other member of the patient's medical care team, or from one of the patient’s family members. On-the-job training may be provided by a nursing care company or by the patient’s family. Alternatively, a prospective aide may enroll in a training program that provides certification for home health aides.
Often, companies that employ aides will provide instruction in such things as taking a patient’s pulse and blood pressure, administering medication, bathing, grooming and preparing healthy meals. Home health aide training may also include first aid instruction and recommendations for safely moving patients from a bed to a chair, for example. Training may also cover the proper way to help patients with special medical devices.
When home health aide training is provided by a company that employs aides, it may include classroom training, and it may or may not prepare the aide for certification, as it isn't always required. This varies from company to company. In other cases, a company may instruct a nurse or a trained, experienced aide to provide training on the job. This training could last just a matter of days or it could continue for a couple of weeks or months.
Another place to look for home health aide training is a nursing agency or organization. Such an agency may be active in maintaining standards of care, setting health-care guidelines and educating health-care workers. Through one of these organizations, an aspiring aide may find voluntary certification programs that involve completing a number of hours of training followed by a written exam. While many home health aides seek certification voluntarily, there are some places that require certification. Additionally, some home health aide programs that are funded with local or national government money may require its home health aides to be certified.
If a prospective home health aide seeks employment through the family of someone in need of care, the family may be willing to provide on-the-job training. This may mean the aide will follow the patient’s current caregiver for a few days or longer, learning the procedures necessary for caring for the patient. Often, many of the skills required are those an aide already has, such as cooking skills. Finally, some families may simply make suggestions and requests for patient care rather than providing any type of official training.