Types of Home Care Workers
There are different types of workers employed by home care agencies that provide care in the home, including:
Home Health Aides (HHAs)
Home Health Aides (HHAs) are the highest level of paraprofessional worker in home care. HHAs are responsible for health-related tasks as well as personal care activities. Health-related tasks include monitoring the client’s health status by taking temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure, and assisting with basic health tasks that allow the client to remain at home. HHAs must follow a plan of care and perform tasks outlined by a registered nurse and if problems or changes occur in the client’s condition, they are responsible for immediately notifying the supervising nurse. HHAs are required to complete a 75-hour training program, which includes both classroom and laboratory/in-home training, and attend in-service training throughout the year.
Personal Care Aides (PCAs)
Personal Care Aides (PCAs) provide services to persons needing some or total assistance with everyday tasks, including such things as personal hygiene, dressing, feeding, walking, meal preparation, light housekeeping and laundry. PCAs provide services to help clients stay in the home and live independently. There are two levels of PCAs: Level I and II. PCA I employees perform homemaker functions and have no physical contact with the client. PCA II employees are responsible for all of Level I functions as well as personal care tasks, including assistance with personal hygiene, dressing, walking and transferring. PCA II employees are required to complete a 40-hour basic training course and attend in-service training throughout the year.
Nurses provide supervision of aides as well as care in the home, and there are distinct types of nursing professions in New York State that are detailed below. To learn more about nursing licensing requirements and regulations, visit the NYS Education Department Office of the Professions website .
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
LPNs provide skilled nursing care tasks and procedures under the direction of an RN, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, physician, or other authorized health care provider.
Registered Professional Nurse (RN)
RNs may perform health assessments; diagnose and treat a patient’s unique responses to diagnosed health problems; teach and counsel patients about their health;execute medical regimens as prescribed by licensed physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and podiatrists; and contribute as members of interdisciplinary health care teams and health related committees to plan and implement health care.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
CNSs are RNs who have completed advanced clinical nursing education (usually a master's degree) and are certified by New York State as a clinical nurse specialist. New York certifies CNSs in the following specialties: Adult Health; Pediatrics; Oncology; and Psychiatry/Mental Health.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
NPs are RNs who have earned a separate license through advanced clinical nursing education (usually a master's degree) in a distinct specialty area of practice. Nurse practitioners may diagnose, treat, and prescribe for a patient’s condition that falls within their specialty area of practice. Nurse practitioner specialty areas include: Acute Care; Adult Health; College Health; Community Health; Family Health; Gerontology; Holistic Nursing; Neonatology; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Oncology; Palliative Care; Pediatrics; Perinatology; Psychiatry; School Health; and Women's Health.