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Home health aides (HHA) are nursing assistants who specialize in providing home care. Their duties often include measuring vital signs, bathing and other personal care, assistance with medication administration, fixing small meals and light housekeeping. Home health aides are often placed in the home of patients by a nursing agency and their care is intermittently overseen by a registered nurse (RN) supervisor. In the US, most home health aides are required to be certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who have obtained their state certification by successfully completing a two-part test consisting of a written examination and a clinical test. Preparation for this evaluation and for the home health aide test should generally consist of a review of the class textbook, retaking completed class tests, practicing required clinical procedures and taking the many preparatory tests that can be found on the Internet.
The first step in preparing for a home health aide test is to begin early, at least a few weeks ahead of time. It is recommended by testing centers that students review the textbook used during their classes in the subject and pay special attention to the topics also emphasized during class lectures. Students should also keep a written list of vocabulary that is unfamiliar or unclear in meaning and transfer this information to flash cards for easy study. It is also helpful for students to retake the tests administered during their classes to help underscore the important concepts that will undoubtedly show up on the official examination.
Students should also practice required clinical skills and procedures. It is often helpful to have a partner or classmate observe your actions, comparing them against the proper procedures outlined in the textbook. There are also many online tests to use for practice on the Internet. Of particular assistance are the practice tests sponsored by the certifying organization that sponsors the home health aide test.
As noted above, in most states the certified nursing assistant exam serves as the de facto home health aide test. Some organizations and employers, however, have begun to require one of several home health aide tests in addition to the more familiar CNA examination. One of the prime reasons for the push in additional preparation, education and certification via the home health aide test is the growing recognition of the extent to which home aides work independently and outside of constant supervision. A separate home health aide test successfully completed in addition to a CNA certification demonstrates almost conclusively that a home health aide is capable of performing all the functions of a certified nursing assistant on an independent and unsupervised basis.
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