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Caregiving PCAs, CNAs, HHAs: Finding the Right Aide for your Needs

When looking to hire a caregiver or home care agency for your loved one, you may have some questions about which caregiver is the right one. With options for care like Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), Home Health Aides (HHAs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) you may be unsure where to start. We’re here to help! Let’s break down the types of care:

Personal Care Attendants

  • No certification or training is required for PCAs.
  • They can assist with showering, getting dressed, medication reminders, proper nutrition, transitioning from hospital to home, etc.
    • Do not partake in any medical related tasks.
  • Can work in private homes, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and hospitals.

Home Health Aides

  • Training requirements vary by state. A lot of vocational schools or community colleges offer HHA training or have HHA components in their CNA training programs.
    • Massachusetts provides training for HHAs.
  • HHAs also take 75 hours of HHA training, undergo 16 hours of clinical training, are required to pass a certification exam organized by the state.
  • They assist with physical care to do activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and toileting; simple dressings; and checking of vital signs.
    • HHAs do not partake in any medical related tasks.
  • Can work in private homes, retirement communities, assisted living facilities, group homes, etc.

Certified Nursing Assistants

  • Depending on the state, state-approved CNA training is required.
  • CNAs also take 75 hours worth of accredited CNA courses, undergo 16 hours of clinical training, and complete a required exam.
  • They assist with personal care, measuring vital signs, making beds, serving meals, setting up medical equipment, observing changes in the condition of the patient, etc. 
  • CNAs are trained for medical related tasks such as taking vital signs, changing dressings, cleaning catheters, controlling infections, and administering treatments. All medical-related tasks have to be performed  under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Nurse Practitioner (NP).
  • Can work in private homes, hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, day care centers, and skilled nursing facilities.

Depending on the needs of you or your loved one, we have dependable and compassionate caregivers ready to help! Our Senior Care Services provide in-home care for every need. Call today at 617-928-1010 to request care now.