As we age there will come a time when we will need assistance. The amount of assistance and the type of care will vary from individual to individual. The quality of care, however, should not vary. We should all expect to receive reliable quality care as we age.
Since 1999 Comfort Home Care has been providing senior care for the residents of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. We offer several different kinds of home care services, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, special needs care, and end-of-life care.
Choosing the type of care you need can be confusing. Our article will help you better understand the differences in training and skill level of the various caregivers you will find in-home care services.
Personal Care Assistant
A personal care assistant, or PCA, helps the elderly, those with disabilities, and those recovering from an illness or accident with the activities of daily living, or ADLs. These are the tasks that we typically do every day without much conscious thought, such as brushing our teeth, combing our hair, getting dressed and so forth. A PCA may also help with light housekeeping tasks, meal preparation and other basic needs. No formal training or licensing is required to become a PCA, although some states do have certification programs available.
Certified Nursing Assistant
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is an entry-level member of a client’s healthcare team, performing important patient-centered tasks under the supervision of licensed nursing staff. They are required to complete a state-approved training program and pass a skills test.
CNAs typically spend more time with their clients than their doctors do. Therefore they play an important role in the early detection of symptoms and may identify issues. Because of the time they spend with their clients they get to their typical behaviors and their general state of health. They are often the first to notice physical or emotional changes – decreased mobility, increased pain, and/or memory issues.
Home Health Aide
Maryland home health aides, or HHAs, are Certified Nursing Assistants who have passed competency evaluations specific to home health. They are under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Nursing.
The District of Columbia requires licensing for home health aides. HHAs earn their credentials by completing career training, completing a two-step evaluation process, and passing a criminal background check.
HHAs typically work under the supervision of a registered nurse or other medical professionals They assist their clients with the activities of daily living and work with the home health care team to identify changes in their clients.
A registered nurse, or RN, has completed an accredited nursing program and passed a national licensing exam. They are trained to provide more skilled hands-on care – administer and monitor medications, insert and manage catheters, perform physical exams, and check vitals – in a variety of settings including hospitals, medical offices, nursing homes, and other facilities. They work closely with the health care team including the patient’s doctors, CNAs, or HHAs as they oversee the care of their patients.
There are several different types of caregivers who can provide a wide range of services, from personal care to more advanced medical tasks. Our staff at Comfort Home Care includes CNAs, HHAs, and RNs. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you or your loved one.