Certified Nursing Assistant vs. Home Health Aide
A Home Health Aide (HHA) generally works in the actual residence of patients. These patients may fall into one of the following categories:
- The patient in need of a HHA may be recovering from an illness or surgery
- The patient may be chronically ill
- The patient may be an elderly loved one who is in need of supervision and assistance with daily living
Regardless of the situation that has placed the patient in need of care, the Home Health Aide performs many of the same duties that are expected of a Certified Nursing Assistant. So, what are the differences?
The Difference Between a Home Health Aide and a Certified Nursing Assistant
In most cases the Home Health Aide works directly and only with one patient, while a Certified Nursing Assistant is generally responsible for the care of a group, a floor, or a room of several patients.
Another difference is in the amount of education and formal training needed to become a Home Health Aide.
While the Certified Nursing Assistant is always required to fulfill a training program and pass a state exam before they are eligible for employment in their chosen career, the requirements for a Home Health Aide are not always as stringent.
Home Health Aides are not required to have a high school diploma and they are sometimes trained on the job by Registered Nurses, LPNs, or their direct supervisor. HHAs can find employment either through an agency or directly through the classifieds with ads that have been placed by the families.
If the HHA works through an agency, they may be required to be license, but this factor can vary from state to state. Basically, licensure depends on the duties involved. If the Home Health Aide is fulfilling the duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant, proper education and licensure will be required. If the duties are limited to “patient sitting” through the night, supervision, and assisting with household duties and basic care, licensure or certification may not be required.
So, Which is the Better Choice? HHA or CNA?
The choice is up to you, but the opportunities are more available to a Certified Nursing Assistant. If you are a CNA, you can find employment in both worlds, and even take on part time work as a Home Health Aide a few nights per week to supplement your income. This is especially true if you have a set schedule at your first (or main) job. Since sitting with a patient is less demanding work, you can balance out your days between hospital or facility work and a Home Health Aide position.
Ultimately, both positions are rewarding in the fact that you will be helping others to do things that they are unable to do for themselves. If you would like to have more employment opportunities available to you, a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant may be the right choice for you.