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By Lee Ann Sides Garrettnews@salisburypost.com
In addition to being one of the fastest growing jobs, caregiving or in-home care does not require a lengthy training program.
Jena Hare, co-owner of HomeInstead Senior Care, says new caregivers typically attend initial personal care training sessions for one full day covering 20-25 different topics, such as nutrition, safety and body mechanics. Caregivers complete further training over 30 days and become licensed.
“It’s a great career if you don’t have time to go back to school,” says Robin Perry of HomeInstead.
Licensed caregivers receive ongoing training in four levels: basic, safety, advanced and activity under a self-study program with classroom review. More advanced caregivers can undergo a non-medical Alzheimer’s training program for dealing with patients with dementia and other complications of Alzheimer’s if they choose. Hare says the company occasionally offers the program to members of the community and other organizations as seats are available.
Hare says not all in-home caregivers are licensed. “We chose to become licensed,” she says. “Unlicensed caregivers mostly serve as companions, don’t do any bathing or manipulation of the patient.”
Caregivers typically perform duties that seniors struggle with, such as cooking, cleaning, bathing and other personal care. “We’re not here to wait on them,” says Perry. “We want them to be independent.”
Training is overseen by registered nurses. Client care supervisors serve as liasons between patients and the office, and Recruitment Retention Supervisors oversee caregivers.
In-home health care, the medical side of caregiving, is also a fast-growing profession. Home health professionals can give patients IV’s, care for wounds and do physical, speech and occupational therapy and other medical care as ordered by a physician.
“Baby boomers are getting older and with patients contracting MRSA and other infections in hospitals, there is more of a push to care for seniors at home as much as possible,” says Marty Link, Branch Director of Gentiva Health Services. “Our goal is to keep them out of the hospital.”
Link says home health care works closely with caregivers and physicians to get an overall picture of patients’ health.
“Sometimes health care can be fragmented with specialists for this and that,” she says. “The partnership between caregivers and home health care can mean better care.”
For those interested in more extensive medical jobs, home health agencies employ positions that require more training than caregiving. CNAs and Nursing Assistants typically attend classes for 16 weeks for CNA-I and an additional 14 weeks for CNA-II. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers these courses in addition to RN and LPN diploma and degree programs, courses in phlebotomy, mammography, pharmacy technician and IV therapy.

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