If you would like to become a professional caregiver, you may require certifications and specialized training. One of these certifications includes the home health aide (HHA) certificate.
This article will run you through everything you need to know about getting an HHA certification.
Understanding What an HHA Certificate Is
An HHA certificate indicates that you have met the federal and state code standards to be a practicing home health aide. This certification program ranges from 75 to 180 hours to complete and includes both classroom and on-the-job training.
To maintain this certification, you need 12 hours of continuing education every 12 months.
These certificates are essential as HHAs work in patients’ homes and are often not directly supervised. The rigorous training process in medical training classes ensures that you are competent, qualified, and can handle everyday duties or possible emergencies.
What Does the Training for an HHA Certification Cover?
Here are some topics that are included in HHA training:
- Communication with patients, the family, and a medical team
- Observing, reporting, and documenting the status of the patient
- Reading vital signs such as pulse, respiration, temperature, etc.
- Preventing infections
- Nutrition and fluid intake
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- 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 the standards may be more rigorous depending on the state you are practicing in. Some states, such as Vermont, need HHAs to be licensed nursing assistants (LNA), which means 80 hours of training, 30 of which are within a clinical setting.
You may also be required additional training requirements if you work for an agency.
What You Need to Know About HHA Testing
Here are some common questions and answers you need to know when testing to get an HHA certification.
- Is There a Written Exam? The federal government does not require a written test, but many states and staffing agencies do. This written exam can include anywhere from 50 to 100 multiple-choice questions. Your training should prepare you for this test, but you can study independently, take a review course, or get yourself an HHA exam prep book.
- What Is Included in the Skills Exam? The federal government requires competency in specific skills for HHAs. Some states and medical career training centers evaluate these skills during training, while others take stand-alone skills exams. This involves a hands-on, true-to-life setting with a volunteer. Some skills include demonstrating handwashing, handling a mock emergency, or transferring a volunteer to and from a wheelchair.
- What Happens If You Don’t Pass? You should pass just fine if you pay attention during training and prepare for your exam. However, people can fail a test due to different circumstances. You can retake the exam up to three times and pay an additional fee. It is best to study and do your best during the first time to avoid the extra stress.
Getting an HHA certificate is one of the required certifications and training to become a professional caregiver. As regulations can vary depending on your state or the agency you are working for, it is best to do your research to ensure that you are taking the right program.
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