When it comes time to choose the most appropriate senior care service for an aging loved one, knowing your options is important. In-home healthcare for the elderly that includes a medical component can differ between a certified nursing aide (CNA) and a home health aide (HHA). Both involve supplying a certain level of medical assistance, but to varying degrees.
Both the CNA and HHA offer basic healthcare, including changing soiled sheets or bedpans, assisting clients with bathing, dressing and grooming, among other similar, routine services. The primary difference between the two roles is that the HHA contributes more services to help complete basic tasks in which the CNA does not engage.
HHA and CNA Responsibilities
Such activities with which the HHA provides support include grocery shopping, doing laundry for patients as well as accompanying seniors on walks. Depending on the state in which the client resides, an HHA may also give a client medication under the supervision of a nurse or similar healthcare provider.
When it comes to the CNA’s role in a patient’s life, the CNA provides slightly more advanced medical care. The CNA is required to work under a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, to whom they report their patients’ conditions and progress. CNAs cannot perform certain medical tasks due to liability and legality.
A CNA will monitor oxygen levels and vital signs, administer medications prescribed by a physician, dress sutures and change wound bandages—under the direction of a registered nurse or doctor. The CNA can also help tend to the patient’s living environment, maintain the cleanliness and sanitation of the room or help feed a patient during meals.
CNAs work very closely with patients and are frequently the first point of contact with the medical team. CNAs, through their frequent interactions with patients, are able to observe the fluctuations in the patients’ physical conditions and the subtle changes in their emotional states, thereby allowing them to relay this information to upper levels of the healthcare team and contribute to furthering optimal treatment and healing.
HHAs can work in various capacities. Oftentimes, HHAs are employed by senior care agencies to work in clients’ homes, for instance. HHAs also can work in day programs for the elderly, independent living and retirement communities, assisted living facilities and group homes for seniors.
Many CNAs work in hospitals, day programs, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, clients’ homes and assisted living facilities. The workload of CNAs can be stressful, demanding and fast-paced; however, the opportunity to help those with medical needs and the fulfillment they experience in providing such services to improve the lives of those who are ill offers daily motivation during challenging days.
No formal education is required of HHAs. Normally, however, HHAs possess at least a high school diploma. Aside from formal schooling, HHAs must undergo hands-on training, pass a competency examination plus pass standardized written tests in the presence of a registered nurse before they can be hired by an in-home healthcare agency. This requirement is the case in every state in the US. Many vocational schools and community colleges offer training to prepare an individual for a career as a home health aide.
Medical schools and community colleges offer certification programs for those who wish to pursue a career path as a certified nursing assistant. All CNAs require a state-issued license to practice in their field. If a CNA has appropriate training, some states may allow the CNA to draw blood, for instance. The level of training a CNA receives can dictate, in some states, certain tasks he or she can undertake.
Whether the patient is a senior, stroke victim, an individual recovering from an injury or illness or an individual with a disability, a home health aide or a certified nursing assistant can provide invaluable in-home assistance to help make daily life as comfortable as possible. Especially if the loved one lives alone, in-home healthcare is essential to helping him or her sustain an optimal quality of life.
In some instances, both a home health aide and a certified nursing assistant can provide a range of services for the same patient, particularly when the senior is recovering from a surgery. The elderly individual will require a certain level of advanced medical care, which a qualified CNA can provide, in order to recoup at home after hospitalization; at the same time, an HHA will offer basic care, in the form of general housekeeping, transportation and grocery shopping, with which the elderly individual will likely need assistance.
Hiring an elder care service provider to send an HHA to your home can offer immense relief to family caregivers. The constant supervision and compassionate care an HHA offers to elder clients enable these seniors to remain in the comfort of their home and live as independently and safely as possible.
Assisting Hands Home Care is a licensed elder care facility that specializes in non-medical in-home care services to those in need of compassionate care. Families who are too busy to manage the day-to-day supervision of an aging loved one will benefit from the care provided by a home health aide. The skilled team at Assisting Hands Home Care will meet with the individual’s family to learn more about his or her needs and then customize the best program to help with daily activities.
The various services provided by Assisting Hands Home Care include a fall prevention assessment of the client’s home, transportation to appointments, household tasks, and flexible arrangements to meet any inconsistencies in a family’s schedule. Assisting Hands Home Care has the ability to send home health aides to individuals’ homes during any day of the week, at any time and for any length of time, for the short term or long term, depending on the client’s need. Assisting Hands Home Care can also offer 24 hour live-in care if the need arises. Such flexibility is invaluable to working families. Assisting Hands Home Care serves the local elderly populations of DuPage and Cook counties.