When it comes to senior care there are many providers. Those providers may work for an agency, nursing registry or privately as their own entity. That begs, the question, what is the difference between a home health aide (HHA) and a certified nursing assistant (CNA)?
First and foremost it is important to remember home health aides and certified nursing assistants are not the same as physical or occupational therapists. The duties and responsibilities of the two are far different. Second, working with a licensed home care agency will provide the safest route as it relates to reliability and consistency with care. At times individuals or nursing registries may drop the ball when it comes to a disruption in schedule. Third, when hiring an in home caregiver it is crucial you get what you are spending hard earned money for. Far too many emergencies have occurred while a caregiver has been asleep while on the job.
Home health aides have a number of responsibilities. However prior to those responsibilities, home health aides must pass and meet all state requirements in order to provide care. Home health aides may help with various tasks an individual can no longer accomplish alone. Aides are also responsible for checking vital signs, monitoring a patient’s physical status and managing emergencies should they occur.
Certified Nursing Assistants report directly to a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Assistants will be responsible for assisting the nurse in activities related to the patient. Similar to HHA, CNAs must pass certification exams in order to provide care. CNAs are responsible for bathing, grooming and feeding patients, as well as checking vital signs, documenting information, assisting with medical procedures, addressing wounds, and transporting patients.
While the duties and responsibilities of the two certainly relate, especially within the home setting, there may be differences when hiring. In many cases, CNAs are training and studying to become registered nurses, therefore they may have more knowledge and experience when working with challenging cases. Home health aides and certified nursing assistants typically will cost the same amount, unless hired privately. Private caregivers (CNA or HHA) have the ability to set their own rate for various reasons. Therefore when hiring an agency rates will remain similar. Nursing registries and private individuals may vary in price.
The most important thing when choosing between a certified nursing assistant or a home health aide is who provides the best care for a loved one. Their title will not indicate who provides greater care, rather the interaction they have with a loved one. Like all professions, there are good and bad, be sure you hire a caregiver that fits in with the family.