Home Health & Hospice

NY Times: Home health and personal care aides require better training

Homecare Insider, October 6, 2014

Home health and personal care aides who provide the bulk of frontline care for individuals who wish to live out their final days in the comfort of their own homes receive insufficient training, according to a recent column in the New York Times.
Federal law requires home health aides to receive 75 hours of training, and only a few states require additional time, writes Carol Rodat, the New York policy director for PHI, formerly known as the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute. In addition, there are no federal requirements for personal care aides, who provide many non-medical home services for post-acute care patients. In states that have implemented their own training standards, most stop around CPR and first aid, according to the column, while 10 states have no training requirements at all.
Rodat underscores that even those aides who have received solid entry-level training rarely undergo advanced training in chronic or acute conditions that could lead to a terminal diagnosis. She recommends that federal and state governments implement and finance policies that address the training needs of home care aides. In addition, she advocates for enhanced focus on the development of communication skills among aides to help them foster relationships with patients' families and the care team, as well as to better familiarize themselves with different cultural practices related to the end of life.
The column, which also specifies that family caregivers require more training and support, proposes that workplaces accommodate these needs through paid family leave, sick days, and flexible work schedules.
Read the full New York Times column here.