Home health aides (HHAs) perform what is likely the most personal role in healthcare. They work with patients who need help living independently in their own homes. HHAs are trained to make positive differences for people dealing with disabilities or chronic conditions. And like any healthcare professional, HHAs must adhere to the compliance standards that govern quality care.
It is arguably more important — and harder — to maintain a standard level of compliance when staff are working in client homes, rather than in a central facility. It can be very difficult for staff to get to a central office for meetings and training and it is taking even more time away from patient care. Home health agencies can ease this burden by providing HHAs with training and tools that can be accessed electronically on their smart devices.
In this article, we’ll explore what is required in terms of home health aide training to maintain compliance as well as ways to maintain compliance with a decentralized staff.
What is the Role of Home Health Aides?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines a home health aide as a professional who “monitors the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and helps them with daily living activities.” HHAs are supervised by medical practitioners, usually nurses, and may work with therapists and other medical staff. They are not licensed to diagnose or treat beyond their certifications and state regulations, but they often observe changes in the patient’s condition that can be life saving.
Some key responsibilities of a home health aide include:
- Assist clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing
- Perform housekeeping tasks, such as laundry, washing dishes, and vacuuming
- Help to organize a client’s schedule and plan appointments
- Arrange transportation to doctors’ offices or other outings
- Shop for groceries and prepare meals to meet a client’s dietary specifications
- Keep clients engaged in their social networks and communities
The majority of home health agencies are Medicare certified, which means that home health aides must also be certified. The Code of Federal Regulations (Section 484.80) provides the qualification guidelines for home health aides. Many states also have separate licensure programs that may even exceed the federal government’s requirements.
Home Health Aide Compliance Training Requirements
Once HHAs are certified and employed, they will need to complete required compliance training, the same as all healthcare professionals who are entrusted with providing safe, legal, and ethical services. This training is typically done when a HHA is hired and repeated annually thereafter. Topics include laws and regulations related to patient privacy, how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, correctly and legally assist patients with self-administration of medications, and ensure the physical safety of both the patient and the aide. HHAs must know to recognize and report signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation according to state laws. Training on this topic can make a positive difference for the patient and others.
The training listed below includes federally-required training. Home health aides should review requirements for their specific state to remain in compliance.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Fire Safety and Fire Extinguisher Types
- Evacuating Patients
- Preparing for and Handling Emergencies
- Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)
- Preventing Needlesticks
- N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator
- Elements of Your Facility’s QAPI Program
- Patient Rights
- USP <800> Hazardous Drugs From Receipt to Disposal
Highly Recommended Training
- Preventing Slips, Trips, Falls, and Work Clutter
- Active Shooter Training
- Handling Hazardous Substances
- Unlawful Harassment for Employees (or Manager)
- Cultural Competency and/or Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
- Transmission-Based Precautions
- QAPI Standards in Hospice and Home Healthcare
- CLIA Waived First Time Waived Testers
- Assisting Patients with Daily Living Activities
- Caregivers’ Duties and Responsibilities
- Personal Care Services in Home Health
- Cybersecurity & HIPAA
- General Safety Orientation
- Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Prevention
- Infection Prevention and Linen Management
- Sepsis Awareness
Download the Ultimate List of Training Requirements for Home Health to get a complete list of training for all home health roles, along with the standard that requires the training, CMS violation category, and frequency.
Maintaining Home Health Compliance With Software
Since HHAs may not be working in a central facility or office on a regular basis, the ability for them to have online access to training, policies, incident reports, and more is critical. An all-in-one compliance platform brings all of these compliance areas together so staff have one platform to access on the go.
Learning Management System
With nearly a dozen required courses for HHAs, having an online learning management system can make it easier for everyone. HHAs can complete the training online with automatic tracking and course completion certificates. The ability to assign courses in bulk makes it easy for office staff to maintain compliance.
Document & Policy Management
Healthcare policies are a critical part of compliance — and they are plentiful. Having all policies and procedures easily accessible is great for HHAs. When acknowledgment or electronic signature is required, it is easy to complete on the go and customized reporting ensures the organization is always ready for a survey.
Online Incident Reporting
The more quickly an incident is reported, the more likely it is that the details will be correct. An online incident reporting system makes it possible for HHAs to report incidents from anywhere. Escalation is automatic and ensures the correct managers and departments are notified.
Find out how MedTrainer can help your organization ensure home health aide training is complete and compliant.