So you’re a caregiver. That’s all well and good—we think it’s great—but you also have a far more specific job title. The type of caregiving you provide will reflect your professional duties, day-to-day tasks, and overall skillset. This post will detail everything you need to know about the different types of in-home caregivers.
Are you a personal care attendant (PCA)?
Not necessarily. Maybe you’re a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
Or, perhaps you’re a home health aide (HHA).
These are the different types of licensed in-home caregivers. Continue reading this post to understand the nuances of each one.
- What Does Being a PCA Entail?
PCAs are also called personal companions in some cases. In addition to supervising and spending time with the patient, they oversee household chores like cooking, cleaning, and shopping. They may also help with transportation, although the scope of the job will likely vary based on the client. While specific requirements for being a PCA depend on the state, these caregivers undergo training and are generally certified.
It’s also worth noting that some states offer programs for patients’ friends or relatives to become PCAs. While there’s no denying it’s an important role, the barrier to entry is relatively low.
- What Does Being a CNA Entail?
CNAs have more medical training than their PCA counterparts. They are required to pass an exam to be certified and often work alongside registered nurses (RNs), many of whom got their start as CNAs. In turn, if you’re a PCA interested in becoming a CNA, note that there are nursing assistant training programs available at many community colleges, medical centers, and trade schools across the country. The National Network of Career Nursing Assistants has stated the profession is growing, and that over 4.5 million CNAs provide care in the United States each day.
In-home CNAs are equipped to check the patient’s vital signs, administer wound care, and also help the client with tasks like bathing or eating (which are often referred to as “activities of daily living,” or ADLs).
- What Does Being an HHA Entail?
HHAs, depending on the state and certification program, may be equipped to offer very basic medical care. In most cases, they are hired to help with the patient’s ADLs, not unlike CNAs.
That said, where a CNA might provide thorough medical assistance, an HHA will offer basic health services such as changing the patient’s bed or overseeing their nutrition. Training to become an HHA—albeit thorough—isn’t as extensive as the training required to become a CNA.
Ultimately, just as clients will decide between using a PCA, CNA, or HHA based on their medical and care-related needs, in-home caregivers can further their training to reflect their interests and skills. We hope this post has given you deeper insights into the different types of caregivers!
In the meantime, on behalf or Nurse2Help, we hope you’re having a great holiday season. Happy New Year!
Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and resources from Nurse2Help. Our app lists hundreds of prescreened caregivers in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. Please contact us for more information.