Caregiver Training

Caregivers often email us to ask about caregiver training programs.  Most senior home care agencies offer training programs to all of their newly hired caregivers through orientation and continuing education seminars.  Special training programs for caring for seniors with memory loss and providing hospice care are usually offered.

Family members are often pleasantly surprised to find a caregiver is successful in interacting with their parent when family members have not been.  Often this is simply because the caregiver has been properly trained in providing senior care.  Non-medical senior caregivers may now receive online caregiver training through a 10-hour course created by aQuire training solutions which will meet the requirements that have been created by the departements of health in some states.

Many hospitals and community programs offer training and support groups for senior caregivers.  The department of health in each state regulates caregiver certification programs which are required by the laws in that state.  All states administer certification for Certified Nursing Aides.  Some states also provide certifications for training as a Certified Home Health Aide and Certified Personal Care Assistant.  Many of these certification programs are offered through community colleges and hospitals.  Sometimes an employer will cover the cost of the program or offer reimbursement after the caregiver certification training has been successfully completed.

Each state maintains a registry of those caregivers who have active certifications and requires continuing education or ongoing employment in order for the certification to remain active.  Renewals of certifications usually are required every 2 years.  All certification programs require caregivers to successfully complete criminal background checks and drug tests in order to be admitted.  Senior home care agencies, nursing homes and hospitals often require caregivers to be certified as this provides an additional guarantee that the caregiver has completed a background check, drug test, written exam, skills exam and has maintained all qualifications to remain active in the state registry (which includes not having formal complaints or disciplinary actions taken against them while employed as an aide).

Senior caregivers can also contact their local department on aging to find out about senior care training programs they may offer. 

Certified Nursing Aides are the hands-on caregivers in nursing homes and for senior home care agencies - they are often referred to as a nurse by seniors as they provide the care many people assume nurses provide.  Registered nurses do learn all of the certified nursing aide skills as part of their registered nurse education and are qualified to perform the care and many times do when hospitals and nursing homes are short-staffed.

Personal Care Assistants usually have at least 40 hours of training.

The CHHHA program is designed to provide a learning experience where students will be able to successfully obtain the entry-level skills necessary to obtain employment in the healthcare industry.

Some typical duties of a homemaker-home health aide include helping the patient take a bath, use the toilet or bedpan, and dress the patient. They also may prepare patient meals, do light laundering, straighten the patient’s room, run errands, and assist with exercise regimens.

The 76 hour curriculum mandated by the New Jersey Board of Nursing includes all components necessary (speech, occupational, physical therapy, CPR, dietary skills, etc.) to train participants to provide home care to the ill and elderly. . Students enrolled in this course will spend their time in classroom work, hands-on clinical practice, multimedia, lab skills practice and individualized student centered instruction.

The course is designed so that students will meet all requirements necessary to take the New Jersey Board of Nursing approved examination and become Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aide (CHHHA) upon the successful completion of this course

Certified Personal Care Assistant (CPCA):  Trained to assist the elderly and disabled with meals, toileting and items needed for daily living.  Usually around 40 hours of training, often this level of care is referred to as companion care.

Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA):  Entry-level training to begin working in the healthcare field and prepares individuals for training as a Certified Nursing Aide.  Training includes:  assisting patients with bathing, toileting, dressing, nutrition education and meal preparation and exercise regimens. Usually around 75 hours of training.

Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.):  Training to assist a registered nurse in a nursing home or hospital to administer the hands-on care, including both the emotional and physical aspects of care.  Training includes proper transfers, bathing, dressing, vital signs, catheter care, feeding tube care, hospice care and how to maintain cleanliness for all care procedures.  Usually 150 hours of training both in a classroom and clinical setting.

Caregiverlist provides tutorials for certified nursing aide training and home health aide training and lab skills, along with senior care briefs for specific care items.

 You may also join the Professional Association of Caregivers to receive 10-hours of online training for free with a certificate of completion when you pass at the 80% pass rate.

 

 

, ,

Caregiver Qualifications

What are the qualifications to be a senior caregiver?

Senior caregiving involves assisting seniors with their activities of daily living, or "ADL's".  What are these activities?  Anything required to function throughout the day as a healthy adult:  eating, bathing, toileting, shopping, cooking, household cleaning and managing scheduled appointments.  Socializing and exercising are also considered important activities for healthy aging.

Learn about the skills required for non-medical caregivers and take an 10-hour online training caregiver certification program created by the leader in online training, aQuire Training Solutions.  You may join the Professional Association of Caregivers for ongoing support as a caregiver.

Some seniors who are recovering from a stroke, heart attack, or coping with cancer or an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease may require more hands-on care by a Certified Nursing Aide or Home Health Aide.  Each state manages the licensing requirements for health care workers through their department of health.  Senior home care agencies, hospitals and nursing homes must follow the state regulations for hiring senior caregivers.

The United States has 1.8 million certified nursing aides (each state also requires nursing aides to update their certification, similar to a driver's license renewal, to maintain an active certification).  As the population ages, the need for senior caregivers will continue to grow, making caregiving a career where you will always find employment (even in a slow economy).

The basic qualifications for a companion caregiver are:

  • 18-years-of age
  • Caring personality
  • Interest in senior care demonstrated through volunteering or personal experience providing care
  • Communication skills:  able to speak English clearly and record care plan updates
  • Cooking skills:  able to prepare meals including oatmeal, soup, meat and vegetables
  • Dependability:  able to arrive to assignments on time and be easily reachable by phone
  • References:  must provide business and personal references - usually 3 references are required
  • Background Check:  must pass a criminal background check
  • Driving Skills:  sometimes required, if driving a senior in their car or in your car

Senior home care agencies will provide training for each assignment.  In addition, most senior home care agencies provide training through their new caregiver orientation along with ongoing training sessions for hospice care, memory loss care and labs for testing nursing aide skills.

Caregiverlist provides you with a Caregiver Quiz and Home Health Aide and Certified Nursing Aide lab skill worksheets.  If you are interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Aide, look for programs offered through your local community colleges and hospitals.

, ,

Caregiver Employment

As the population ages, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the personal and home care aide job category will more than double in the next ten years.  If you are looking for job stability, becoming a senior caregiver could be the career for you.

While advances in medicine are enabling seniors to live longer, additional care services are often required.  For instance, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases dramatically for those over age 65.

According to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, about 40% of people aged 65 or older have age associated memory impairment (about 16 million people in the U.S.A.). Only about 1% of them will progress to dementia each year.  Although patients with mild cognitive impairment are able to continue to live independently, they show objective memory  impairments similar to those seen in people with very mild Alzheimer's disease. And about 10% of people aged 65 years or older have mild cognitive impairment, and nearly 15% of them develop Alzheimer's disease each year.

These are just the statistics for Alzheimer's disease care needs.  The likelihood for heart disease, stroke, cancer and Parkinson's disease also increase as we age.  Another interesting statistic:  the number one risk for women to develop breast cancer is living a longer life - the older we are, the greater the risk. 

The caregiver category is identified as professionals who help the elderly, disabled, ill and mentally disabled live in their own homes or in residential care facilities instead of in health facilities.

What type of jobs are available for senior caregivers? Nursing homes, assisted living communities, hospitals and senior home care agencies all hire certified nursing aides.  Usually certification can be obtained within two months and sometimes scholarships or grants are available from community programs. 

Caregiverlist's Senior News reports nursing homes will continue to need Certified Nursing Aides and provides information about the nursing aide programs in California and Illinois.

Have you worked as a nursing aide in a nursing home, hospital or for a senior home care agency?  We invite you to share with our site visitors which type of position you preferred.

, ,

Caregiver Jobs

Even with the economic downturn, there continue to be openings for caregiving positions with Senior Home Care Agencies, Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities.

Why do there continue to be caregiver job openings?

One of the reasons is the aging population as the large Baby Boomer generation ages (the number of seniors over age 65 will double in the next 20 years) and their care needs develop as they grow older.

Lori Porter, a senior leader of the Coalition to Protect Senior Care says nursing facilities nationwide are challenged by staffing shortages, estimated to be at 110,000 for front line direct care workers in skilled nursing facilities.  With 3 out of 4 nursing facility patients paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, sometimes the facilities only staff one nursing aide for as many as 15 patients.  Because of this, there is high turnover by the aides as they often feel they cannot adequately keep up with the patient needs and become exhausted and frustrated.  At the same time, nursing aides may continue their education and move to other positions on the staff.

Because Medicare does not pay for long-term care in a nursing facility, seniors are also opting for care in the home which has created a new industry in recent years.  Senior Home Care Agencies provide professional care in the home and the caregiver provides care for just one client.  Many nursing aides will choose to move to positions in senior home care after working at a nursing facility because they prefer to provide one-on-one care for a senior.  Both long-term care insurance policies and the Veteran's Aide and Attendance benefit will pay for care in the home provided by a licensed senior care agency.  Many senior care companies have launched to provide for this care, creating an entire industry in just the last 10 years.

Senior Home Care Agencies hire both part-time and full-time caregivers to accommodate client needs, as new clients can arrive daily as they are discharged from the hospital and choose to go to their own home to recover.  In addition, many clients who develop memory loss will opt for home care to keep their meals, medications and personal care on track.

Caregiving positions may require specific training and usually a Senior Home Care Agency can assist caregivers with obtaining training through their own programs our through community programs.  Certified Nursing AIde classes are offered by community colleges and technical colleges and usually can be completed in 6 to 8 weeks, depending on if they are full or part-time programs.  Background and reference checks are required to work with seniors.

You may submit a job application on Caregiverlist to be connected with hiring senior care companies in your area.

 

 

 

 

, ,

Certified Nursing Assistant Rescues Infant

The shootings in Alabama this week brought the spotlight to a Certified Nursing Assistant who came to the rescue of a 3-month old baby who was the one survivor on the front porch of the shooter's uncle's home.  With the baby's mother shot and killed,  along with four others, Alina Knowles quietly crept onto the porch to avoid being seen by the shooter and brought the baby to safety at a neighbor's house.

Her training helped her to respond with calmness to an emergency situation.

Many caregivers for seniors become certified nursing aides after a personal experience of caregiving.  Caregiverlist's "Share Your Story" allows caregivers to share their experience of caregiving and also tell about what lead them to provide care as a professional caregiver.  Caregivers working as Certified Nursing Aides learn how to cope with the emotional challenges of caregiving, as well as how to provide physical care assistance as well.

 

, ,

Caregiver Interview Questions

Senior Home Care Agencies have created systems to effectively hire quality caregivers.  Nursing homes and Assisted Living communities also have hiring systems for Certified Nursing Aides.

Beyond the usual questions about experience and previous jobs you have held, hiring companies need this information to more quickly process your application:

1) Copy of Certificates for any specialized training (Certified Nursing Aide, Home Health Aide)

2) Copy of your identification: Driver's License, State I.D., Social Security card or Passport

3) Names and phone numbers of at least 3 personal references and 3 business references (can be a manager or colleague)

4) Names and addresses of former employers along with valid phone numbers for each

Note:  you may obtain non-medical caregiver certification through an approved 10-hour online caregiver certification course.

Caregiverlist receives many questions about the hiring process and most of these questions are answered on our FAQ's.  And, what do we think is the most important question for both the hiring company and the caregiver?  Finding out the reason the caregiver was attracted to working as a caregiver.  There are many types of work which will pay more than caregiving and the best caregivers are doing senior care for many reasons beyond a paycheck.  By finding out what these reasons are, you will learn more about the caregiver applicant and gain insight about their personal values.

 

 

 

, ,

Senior Care Jobs

Even with the slowing economy and the highest rate of unemployment in decades, there remains a strong demand for senior caregivers to meet the staffing needs of senior care companies.  Caregiverlist's Career Center connects caregiving job applicants to hiring companies in their area for both part-time and full-time senior care jobs.

Senior Home Care Agencies are constantly hiring caregivers due to some of the unique aspects of the industry: 

-Hospital stays are shorter:  a senior may be discharged while still needing some assistance while recovering from a hip replacement or other types of surgery or from an illness (and I won't even mention the fact that sometimes seniors take home a new infection from the hospital which requires a caregiver to assist them while recovering).

-Medicare will pay for rehabilitation in the home now:  Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and RN's will provide care in the home for a senior as long as the medical doctor gives approval.  However, these skilled professionals just provide rehabilitation care within their specialties and do not provide daily care for Activities of Daily Living which means non-medical caregivers must be hired to assist (and this is usually superior to staying in a nursing facility which does not provide one-on-care by a Certified Nursing Aide).

-Hospice care:  many times seniors who have a terminal illness will choose to have hospice care in the home and will require a caregiver to assist with their personal care.

-Memory loss:  with advancements in medical technology and treatments, seniors are living longer and the longer we live, the more our chances of having some type of memory loss increase.  Many times part-time care is required to keep everything on track for a senior suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.

Senior care jobs include working as a non-medical companion caregiver or Certified Nursing Aide or as a scheduler or recruiter for a Senior Home Care Agency to keep things moving as new clients begin services and as current client's care needs change.  Most Senior Home Care Agencies provide training and there are also many community programs and associations that provide training seminars on senior care.  Caregiverlist's short job application connects your information with multiple hiring companies in your area to help meet the ongoing staffing needs for senior caregivers.

 Some positions will require experience and others will only require a caring disposition and dependability.  Reference and background checks are always required the pay is always well above minimum wage (you can also learn all about background check requirements in your state as well as minimum wage on Caregiverlist's "by state" pages)

 

 

, ,

Hiring a Caregiver

When a senior needs extra assistance with their care, because of memory loss, an age-related illness or mobility issues, it becomes necessary to evaluate the best way to provide for the care needs.

The senior care industry refers to these basic care needs as "Activities of Daily Living".  This includes assisting with walking, bathing, toileting and meals.  Nursing Aides and Home Health Aides (each state sets requirements for certification for nursing assistants) are trained to properly provide for senior care needs.  Certification classes usually take 4 to 8 weeks (depending on if it is a part-time or full-time program).  Nursing facilities and hospitals are usually required to have a minimum level of certified nursing assistants on staff based on the number of residents and patients.  Senior Home Care Agencies may staff companion caregivers, as well as nursing aides, depending on the care needs of the senior.

It is important to consider the toll caregiving will take on a spouse or relative.  The physical work required can be substantial and when this is combined with the need to interact with a loved one as a caregiver, the relative can quickly become exhausted and sometimes even depressed.  This is because they are most likely missing out on many of their own daily activities which they now no longer have the time to enjoy.

Many families have told me that hiring a professional caregiver was the best decision they ever made.  The cost is really minimal when you consider that it will allow relatives to spend quality time with their loved one.  Many times the health of a spouse who is performing the duties of caregiving will also decline significantly.  Caregiving is not easy work.  However, it is a little easier when the person performing the care is not a relative or friend and is able to come to work refreshed and leave to go back to their own life.

Caregiverlist does provide quality standards for Senior Home Care Agencies who provide information on their rates and services for our users and you can learn more about the benefits of hiring a senior home care agency from our home page.

, ,

Certified Nursing Aide

One of the first questions a senior will ask when needing additional care services is:  what duties does a Certified Nursing Aide perform?

My answer is always that the Certified Nursing Aide is the person who performs the "hands-on" care in a nursing home or in hospitals.

The department of public health in each state creates their own nursing aide certification guidelines.   Schools must receive approval to offer a Certified Nursing Aide program and nursing aides working in licensed nursing facilities must be certified.

There are many little details for providing care which can make a huge difference in the quality of the care - nursing aides learn these details as a student in a nursing certification program.

Skills include:  transfers, bathing, dressing, bed pan and catheter care, range of motion exercises, checking vital signs, decubitus ulcer care (bed sores), feeding tube, oxygen tank, hearing aide care, understanding age-related medical conditions and how to interact with a variety of patient personalities (including combative patients).  Making sure sanitary conditions are always maintained are also taught.

Tuition for Certified Nursing Aide training is usually from $500 to $1,000 and many times reimbursement is available through employee programs at nursing centers and hospitals or through city or state incentive programs.

Harold Washington College, a city community college in Chicago, Illinois, charges a $629 tuition fee for their Certified Nursing Aide program.  The Spring semester runs from January 19th and runs for 12 or 13 weeks depending on if it is the day or evening program.  The day program meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 8am to 4pm and the evening program meets Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 9pm.

Upon completion of the course, students take the state exam and then may begin working as a Certified Nursing Aide.



, ,

January Unemployment at 7.6% but not for Caregivers

Although the unemployment rate for January has been reported as 7.6%, the good news is that jobs actually increased in the healthcare industry. 

Medicare does not provide for longterm care in a nursing home and because of this, more and more seniors are making the decision to receive one-to-one care by their own professionally managed caregiver at home, rather than rehabilitating from a stroke or hip replacement in a nursing center which may often only provide one nursing aide for every 12 to 15 senior patients.  This prevents the aid from being able to adequately interact and motivate each elderly patient adequately, especially if one patient has a mishap which requires more time. 

In fact, staffing is sometimes inadequate enough in many nursing homes that even those seniors who are rehabilitating in the nursing center while Medicare is paying for their care will hire their own private senior caregiver to assist them. 

Working as a senior caregiver or Certified Nursing Aide or Home Health Aide will pay between $8.00 and $16.00 per hour, depending on what part of the U.S.A. you live in.  In addition, you receive professional training and benefits.  Companion care may not require formal training beyond what a senior care company provides and usually pays 50% to 100% more than minimum wage.

In addition, senior caregiving delivers a fulfilling career, as you know you truly made a positive difference for someone when you go home at the end of the day.  As caregiving sometimes require 24-hour around the clock staffing, there are many opportunities for weekend and evening hours for those who are seeking extra income or a part-time job while studying for a professional career.  Many times nurses and social workers will work as companion caregivers while in school studying for their prerequisites for nursing school or while an undergrad.

Caregiverlist's Career Center provides information about working as a caregiver and connects applicants with hiring senior care companies in their area. You can also read stories from other caregivers to learn about their experiences working as a senior caregiver.

 

, ,
Log in