Becoming a Home Health Aide is often the first step towards a career in the healthcare industry. It takes compassion and patience, but also strong listening and communication skills, excellent organization, flexibility, and problem solving.
If this sounds like you, then you might be ready to pursue a career as a Home Health Aide (HHA). To do this, you will need to meet the HHA requirements in Pennsylvania, including completing home healthcare training or proving your competency in other ways.
Let’s take a closer look at how to become a Home Health Aide in Pennsylvania.
What does a Home Health Aide do?
Home Health Aides help elderly, disabled, or chronically ill patients with everyday tasks in their own homes. You will primarily assist your patients with:
- Hygiene and grooming – Including bathing, toileting, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc.
- Meals – Preparing, cooking, and feeding. You may work with a patient’s doctors to create a meal plan that meets their diet needs.
- Housework – Such as cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, etc.
- Mobility – Helping the patient move safely around their home and/or driving them to appointments or errands.
- Medication and health – Managing the patient’s medication schedule and monitoring their overall health and wellbeing.
Working as a HHA is challenging, but it can also be rewarding! If you enjoy working one-on-one with others and providing them with compassionate and friendly care, this might be the perfect career for you.
How to become a Home Health Aide in Pennsylvania
There are currently three ways to become a Home Health Aide following the HHA requirements in Pennsylvania. These options allow you to choose the best route for your career goals and schedule, though each has its pros and cons.
Option 1: Home Healthcare Training**
Completing a home healthcare training program is the most traditional way to become a Home Health Aide in Pennsylvania. There are many home healthcare programs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, and other major cities across the state. If you live in a more rural area, you may need to travel to complete you training.
HHA requirements in Pennsylvania state that you must complete 75 hours of training, including 16 hours of clinical instruction. You are also required to complete 12 hours of continuing education every 12 months to refresh and update your HHA knowledge. Once your training is complete, you must pass a competency test to assess your skills.
To become a fully qualified HHA, you will also need to pass a criminal background check and child abuse clearance. You also need to submit a tuberculosis (TB) screening.
Finally, all HHAs must follow consumer rights laws in Pennsylvania. This includes providing patients with information regarding the services you provide, their cost, your hours of work, and who patients can contact to make a complaint. If you will be working for a home health agency, your employer will likely take care of these disclosures for you.
Option 2: Nurse Aide Certification
You can also work as a Home Health Aide in Pennsylvania by completing a nurse aide certification. This is the first step to becoming a qualified nurse, so you may decide to go this route if that is your ultimate career goal. There are many approved nurse aide programs throughout the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Education can help you find one in your area.
Option 3: Through a Home Healthcare Agency
You can also become a HHA directly through the home health agency where you will work. To do this, you will need to pass a competency exam developed by the agency that meets HHA requirements in Pennsylvania.
This is the quickest and easiest way to become a Home Health Aide, but it does limit your options. If you decide to work for another agency, you will need to pass their exam before you can begin work. If you decide to open your own agency, you will likely need to complete a home healthcare training program or get your nurse aide certification first.
Protecting yourself on the job
Once you’ve become a Home Health Aide, you may want to protect the hard work that went into doing this. Home healthcare insurance in Pennsylvania is one way to shield your bank accounts from legal fees, compensation claims, and other expenses that could potentially put an end to your career.
Working closely with patients in their own homes puts HHAs at risk of liability claims. These can be serious, for example if your patient slips and falls, and needs to visit the emergency room. It may have been an accident, but if you are found liable you could be required to cover their hospital bills.***
In this case, General Liability insurance (a type of home health liability in Pennsylvania) would protect you by covering the cost of compensating your patient, plus the legal bills you received while responding to the claim. Instead of paying from your own pocket, your insurance will take care of this for you.
If you’re interested in home care business insurance in Pennsylvania, BizInsure can help. We make it easy for busy HHAs to compare and buy policies online in just minutes. Start your online application, and see if you could be saving money on your business insurance.
**This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your home health aide license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.
***The provision of the claims examples are for illustrative purposes only and should not be seen as an indication as to how any potential claim will be assessed or accepted. Cover for a claim will depend on the specific circumstances around the loss and would be subject to the terms and conditions of the policy concerned. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained in this webpage is general only. Coverage for claims on the policy will be determined by the insurer, not BizInsure, and will depend on the specific facts and circumstances involved.