A CNA is an individual who has completed nursing assistant certification training and who has passed the exam for certification. On the other hand, HHA refers to home health aides. Home health aides are not always required to hold a certification though in most cases there are some licensing or certification requirements. There are some home health agencies that will hire an HHA. Other times an individual or their family hires an HHA directly for a loved one needing care in their home.
Certified nursing assistants will typically work in continuing care communities, rehabilitation centers and hospitals. A CNA will work with several different patients throughout the day. In a setting where new patients come and go often, a CNA will work with many different patients each year. A home health aide works with one client at a time. They work with patients in their own home providing a variety of home health services. A HHA might very well work with the same individual for several years. An HHA can also work with individuals of all different ages and from various walks of life.
Training for Certified Nursing Assistants
A certified nursing assistant requires more training than a HHA unless the HHA is also required to be a certified nursing assistant. Certified nursing assistants need to attend a state approved training class inorder to get certified. The training programs provide prospective nursing assistants with both classroom and clinical instruction. Training courses usually last for 3-6 weeks depending on the hours of instruction each week.
Certified nursing assistants receive some background instruction on medical and nursing related topics. They will usually need to complete some lab room instruction as well. Nursing assistant students then learn to work with patients directly. They learn how to safely and effectively carry out the most common tasks and duties that are assigned to certified nursing assistants.
When a CNA student completes a training course, they are required to sit for an exam. They must pass a written as well as hands on component to the exam. The exam provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate some of the nursing assistant skills that they learned during training.
Most certified nursing assistants are required to attend additional training each year. They will earn continuing education credits through some of the courses they must take and in-service meetings they must attend. A CNA is always learning something new in order to ensure that they can carry out their duties to the best of their ability.
Training for a Home Health Aide
An HHA often receives hands on training as opposed to attending a training course. There can still be requirements for the number of hours of training an individual must complete and any exams they must pass. They learn how to perform their duties while working directly with a client. Every person that requires a home health aide has their own individual needs. Their aides learn best by working with them directly.
A HHA can also be required to attend a course to become CPR certified. A Basic Life Skills course or other first aid courses can also be required. If a home health aid works for a nursing agency, they can be required to attend additional training courses periodically. They might even need to complete some continuing education credits each year.
Home health aides will generally receive their training under the direction of a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse. They might also spend a few days working under another HHA until they learn what duties they must perform for their assigned patient. It can take a few days for a home health aide to be ready to work with a patient completely on his or her own.
A nursing supervisor will evaluate most home health aides at times. If the HHA needs improvement in any areas, this is the time for their supervisor to point out those areas. The supervisor can then help the aide to improve his or her skills.
A CNA and an HHA often carry out similar duties. They assist patients and clients with activities of daily living. Nursing assistants and home health aides work with individuals who need a little help on a day-to-day basis. The patients and clients are often older individuals, individuals with chronic illnesses or individuals who were recently ill or injured.