Recruiting and retaining caregivers is one of the biggest challenges for home healthcare agencies. Turnover is high […]
The majority of home health aide training takes place on the job while caring for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.
However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) now requires certified home health aides (HHAs) to receive at least 12 hours of in-service training annually to retain their certification.
In this guide, we’ll show you where to find home health aide in-service training and highlight the most important classes for your caregivers.
Where to Find HHA In-Service Training
You can find HHA in-service training — also known as “HHA inservices” — through a professional organization such as the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) or an online provider like CareAcademy.
Additionally, some health care institutions and government agencies run grant-funded in-service training programs.
(Note: It’s essential to ensure the HHA in-services are approved in all 50 states).
National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA)
The NAHCA has developed various educational resources, including:
- The NAHCA Virtual Campus of Care (NVCC): a self-paced, mobile-friendly distance learning platform.
- Professional Development Coaching: for personal and professional growth.
- The Geriatric Care Specialist (GCS) Course: a specialist 10-module course and written exam.
- The Certified Preceptor Course: an 8-module course to train HHAs to mentor new staff.
- NAHCA’s Annual Conference: provides 12 to 16 hours of education for attendees.
CareAcademy Online HHA Training Program
The CareAcademy HHA Training Program combines online lessons with in-person classes. It includes the skills required by federal CMS standards, plus any specific state requirements.
Home health agencies can train and certify new HHAs with 17 hours of classroom time plus 59 hours of self-paced, mobile-friendly online training. Students complete the training with an end-of-program knowledge exam and hands-on skills evaluation.
With over 6,000 home health aides on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic each day, we have constantly examined ways to improve how we deliver care, and how we engage with our workforce to ensure that the vulnerable New Yorkers who depend on us receive the care they need. Partnering with CareAcademy to deliver high-quality, on-demand training for our direct care workforce is one of the bright spots to come from this focused effort. For the first time, we can provide the critical training our staff requires in a flexible manner, enabling them to safely receive training when and where it is convenient for them. This ensures that our staff is able to execute at the highest level possible as we serve the more than 40,000 people in our care each day.
11 Important In-Service Training Classes for Home Health Aides
By law, home health aides must receive at least 12 hours of in-service training during each 12-month period. Here’s our list of the most important HHA in-service training classes:
1. Infection control
In this class, caregivers learn how to maintain a clean and healthy environment for their patients. Topics include
- Hand hygiene.
- Cleaning and disinfection.
- Use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Disposal of sharps and other contaminated materials and equipment.
- Identify different ways that infections can be transmitted.
- Understand the importance of infection control.
- Demonstrate how to control infection through cleaning and disinfecting techniques.
2. Safety precautions and fall prevention
Falls are the biggest risk to older adults and, in some cases, can end in hospital admission. During this class, HHAs learn how to help reduce the risks.
- Understand why older adults are susceptible to falls.
- Identify potential risks in a client’s home.
- Know ways to prevent falls, including exercises for overcoming medical conditions.
3. Bathing assistance
Older adults often require bathing assistance if they are infirm or immobile. During this class, HHAs learn the importance of bathing and how to make bathing safe and dignified.
- Know how to bathe an older adult in a safe and dignified way.
- Understand how to resolve conflicts in bathing an older adult.
4. Identifying and reporting elder abuse
As HHAs spend considerable time with patients, they need to know how to identify and report elder abuse and neglect. Forms of elder abuse include verbal, physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.
- Identify the different signs of elder abuse.
- Apply strategies for preventing it.
- Report elder abuse based on the state legal requirements.
5. Transfers and mobility equipment
Caregivers need to know how to use various transfer and mobility equipment when caring for an older adult, including nighttime safety supports.
- Identify different types and uses of mobility equipment, such as a gait belt, slide board, or mobility device.
- How to use a Hoyer lift to transfer an older adult.
- How to use monitors, alarms, and bed rails to keep patients safe in bed.
6. Measuring and recording vital signs
Caregivers need to know how to assess a client’s health and when to measure their vital signs — temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, and pain. They also need to know what to do when measurements are outside expected ranges.
- Describe the five vital signs, why they’re important, and how to monitor them.
- Demonstrate how to measure a client’s body temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure, plus assess their pain.
7. Home safety for dementia patients
Home safety is a primary concern for clients living with dementia. Fire hazards, sharp objects, poisons, medicines, hazardous household products, and expired food are among the risks. Caregivers are responsible for protecting clients inside and outside the home while helping them maintain their independence.
- Identify home safety risks for dementia patients.
- Implement accident prevention tactics inside and outside the home.
- Maintain a balance between independence and safety.
8. Assisting with range-of-motion exercises
In this class, caregivers learn about the anatomy of joints and muscles and how to assist older adults with active and passive range-of-motion exercises.
- Describe how joints and muscles work together.
- Show clients how to perform active range-of-motion exercises for the upper and lower body.
- Show older adults who are bedridden how to perform passive range-of-motion exercises.
9. Emergency procedures
Should a disaster strike, caregivers have to protect themselves and their clients. In this class, HHAs learn how to prepare for disasters, such as severe weather, fire, floods, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
- Demonstrate how to prepare for and handle emergencies and disasters.
- Know when to use emergency services and how to use standard fire safety equipment.
10. Observation, reporting, and documentation
The observation, reporting, and documentation class shows caregivers how to look for and report changes in a client’s vital signs, mental status, skin, nutrition, hygiene, and home environment. They also learn how to document such changes effectively.
- Understand the importance of observing, documenting, and reporting on a client’s condition.
- Recognize concerning signs and symptoms across the body and respond accordingly.
- Describe the various types and elements of effective reports and the importance and characteristics of good documentation.
- Make the necessary observations of normal and abnormal conditions and a client’s family and home environment.
11. Preventing caregiver burnout
Burnout is common among HHAs due to the nature of the profession. As a result, patient care suffers, and agencies experience high employee turnover.
In this class, caregivers learn to spot burnout symptoms — chronic fatigue, forgetfulness, pessimism, isolation, irritability, and poor performance — and how to take care of themselves.
- Distinguish the causes of caregiver burnout.
- Understand healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms, and how to develop an action plan.
HHA In-Service Training Documentation
Home health agencies and caregivers must keep records of HHA in-service training.
Home health agencies must record and maintain HHA in-services documentation for at least six years, including:
- Content, objectives, and goals.
- Proof of completion.
- RN supervisory oversight and signoff.
Home health aides must maintain documentation that demonstrates they have met the requirements of the HHA classroom, supervised practical training, and HHA in-services.
Simplify Home Health Aide Training
Federal and state law requires home health aides to complete initial and ongoing in-service training.
Professional organizations, health care institutions, and government agencies provide various HHA in-service training programs.
CareAcademy is an excellent platform for HHA training, including ongoing in-service requirements, that blends online lessons with in-person classes, enabling home health agencies to remain compliant.
The CareAcademy HHA training program includes:
- Onboarding session materials
- 59 hours of CareAcademy online classes
- 17+ hours of in-person curriculum
- End-of-program knowledge exam
- Hands-on skill competency checklists
- Activity handouts
- Completion certificates