Your position as a caregiver is important to you and essential for those you care for in your profession. You work hard to ensure those you care for are safe and comfortable. This career isn’t possible without training and practice, but knowledge and compliance standards change frequently in health care. Learning new insights through caregiver education and training is extremely helpful. For those contemplating a career in caregiving, it’s critical to know you will always have more to learn.
What Is a Caregiver?
For people who are new to the field, knowing what being a caregiver requires is important before you embark on this career. A caregiver is a person who works to take care of the needs and concerns of people who have physical limitations because of illness, injury, disability, or old age. Caregiving encompasses many forms. Some forms of caregiving are family caregiving when family members care for people in their family. Caregivers can be actual family members or family of choice such as neighbors, close friends, or members of a congregation. Respite caregivers are people who give other caregivers respite or rest from their daily responsibilities. This role can be informal such as a friend who gives another friend some time to go shopping or have a coffee break. They can be professional caregivers who give family caregivers time to rest. Professional caregivers are either private duty home caregivers who perform care-related activities in the home, or they work in organizations such as skilled nursing facilities.
What Do Caregivers Do?
Some responsibilities of caregivers involve giving personal care such as bathing, feeding, transportation to medical appointments, monitoring medical conditions, helping people get dressed, and preparing meals.
What Education Does a Caregiver Need?
Entry-level caregivers need to complete their caregiver certification and state-approved training. Some states and agencies may require caregivers to have specific certifications, such as CPR, first aid, and a valid state driver’s license. In addition to practical skills such as how to dress and bathe patients, caregivers give medication, take blood pressure, cook, and look for signs of illness in the people they care for. Caregivers must also have soft skills such as excellent communication, patience, tact, and the ability to listen.
Why Do Caregivers Need Continuing Education?
Caregivers never stop learning as their field of expertise constantly changes. To advance your career, earning certifications in your field helps you obtain practical and theoretical knowledge of new practices and requirements for patient care. Both practical skills and soft skills are essential to keeping in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Some notable certifications are:
Home Health Aide Certification (HHA)
A nationally recognized caregiver education certification is the Home Health Aide Certification (HHA). The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers this certification for those wanting to show competence in basic medical procedures. Some core competencies measured with the HHA course are medical skills such as administering medications, recognizing signs of disease and injuries, preventing disease and injury, dressing wounds, and checking blood pressure and heart rates. Responsibilities measured with the certification include teaching how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and providing emotional support to patients. The HHA certification is an educational course of at least 75 hours of training and passing a written exam.
Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive (CHCE)
The Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive (CHCE) certification is available to caregivers in caregiving administration. Administered by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the certification includes 223 questions covering topics such as legal requirements, regulatory compliance as well as financial operations.
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