Certified nursing assistants, called CNAs, often hire caregivers for home healthcare services or their loved ones. Both are eligible to work as home health aides in different healthcare settings such as clinics, homes, etc. However, a certified nursing assistant is trained and credentialed to work in different individual facilities. Many CNA job opportunities are not available to non-certified caregivers.
Caregivers assist elderly and disabled clients in their activities of daily living and day-to-day functions. Such as cooking, cleaning (housekeeping), doing laundry, transportation, shopping, and paying bills. They can also help the client in bathing, eating, and dressing. But they cannot provide clinical care such as medication administration, wound care, etc. These tasks need certification and training. Some caregivers are employed as live-in companions. This means that they are provided with room and board by their clients in addition to regular paychecks. This is usually done when the clients need 24/7 care and assistance. Mainly for those with immobility, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsonism, etc.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
Certified nursing assistants get formal training for about 75 hours of instruction in a state-approved educational/training facility. To certify and officially work as a CNA, candidates should have to pass a competency examination. The graduates of CNA programs are listed with the registry of nurse aides in their state of training. There are additional requirements in several states, such as disease screening, stamina evaluation, etc. Those candidates who have a criminal background are thoroughly checked before certification.
Caregivers and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work to help people who require some form of assistance to live independently at their homes or the assisted living facilities. Some clinical organizations train caregivers for certain non-invasive, non-critical, and basic tasks. These tasks include vital signs monitoring, preparing examination rooms, etc. However, CNAs are certified to perform medical and clinical functions such as administering medications, providing ambulatory assistance, wound management, blood sampling, and moving bedridden patients. Note that only certified graduates of CNA programs are authorized and allowed to work as assistants in nursing care facilities.
Education and Training
Generally, caregivers do not need any high school diploma. A medical practitioner, an experienced aide, the client, or their family member, will show them what caregivers need to do. Caregivers who work for the agencies that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid need to complete a 75-hour certification or training program. This training enables caregivers to perform certain skills. Including emergency response, personal hygiene, infection control, patient safety maintenance, measuring and recording vital signs, ambulating the patients with safety. They also have to understand the principles of basic nutrition.
Choosing a CNA or Caregiver
Home health agencies or private clients usually hire CNAs or caregivers to work as assistants for patients whose self-care abilities are compromised. The overall condition of the clients will determine whether a caregiver is needed or a CNA. Most caregivers can manage patients with mild dementia as long as they do not have any medical issues. In comparison, a CNA is authorized to take care of clients with medical issues like diabetes, stroke, heart diseases, and ambulatory problems.