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An independent home health aide is a trained nursing assistant who works in patients' homes performing a variety of duties to make the patient more comfortable and support her recovery. Home health aides are also known as certified nursing assistants or nurse's aides. Following are the steps necessary to become an independent home health aide.
Obtain your high school diploma or GED. Although a high school diploma is not mandatory for becoming a home health aide, it will improve the chances of getting a job. Also, if you choose to become certified as a home health aide, a high school diploma or GED is necessary.
Secure a position that offers on-the-job training at a facility such as a nursing home, rehabilitation center or hospital. Work under the supervision of licensed practical nurses, registered nurses or other more experienced home health aides to learn the skills and education needed to perform the job. Be prepared to learn about administering medication, transferring patients, working with the elderly, terminally ill and disabled, and changing surgical dressings.
While going through training, you may decide to become certified by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. Visit its website to learn about its 75-hour training program, which consists of training, skills demonstration and a written examination to obtain certification. Once this program has been completed and you have passed the exam, you will be considered a certified home health aide.
Contact the licensure department in your state to begin the process of applying for a license. Since licensing guidelines vary by state, be sure to do your homework and fulfill all the necessary requirements to obtain your license, especially if this is required by the facility where you are working.
Keep up with trends in nursing and health care by taking continuing education classes and workshops. Since technology and practices in health care are always changing, it is important to continue your education and stay up to date.