When it comes to home care for seniors, there are various options available. Home Health Aides (HHA) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) can both assist in the everyday lives of their clients but vary in the types of training, certifications, and care they can provide. The difference between an HHA vs CNA is in the duties they perform. A CNA can perform a variety of medical duties, whereas an HHA cannot.
Below, we’ll cover the main differences between an HHA and a CNA.
What is a HHA or Home Health Aide?
A Home Health Aide (HHA) works with you in your home to help you with basic home and living activities. HHAs work closely with their clients, usually spending long periods of time with them and forming a healthy companionship with them. The goal of an HHA is to alleviate the burden of everyday tasks from their clients or provide those services when their clients can no longer perform them themselves. HHAs are not clinically trained, so they cannot perform medical tasks for their client. However, HHAs can offer medication reminders as part of their duties.
What is a CNA or Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) supports the needs of their client, but they usually do not work in their client’s homes. CNAs can work in clients’ homes, but they primarily work in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, and more. They typically perform similar tasks to HHAs but have expanded training and the ability to perform certain medical activities the client may need. These additional activities are usually used for clients recovering from an illness, injury, or condition like dementia.
HHA vs CNA
Home Care Duties
- HHA Duties: HHAs cannot perform medical support for their clients, so their duties are typical living and home life activities. These activities include mobility support, transportation, meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, bathing, shopping, and much more.
- CNA Duties: A CNA can perform all of the duties of an HHA. Common duties include help with hygiene, tracking patient condition, monitoring vitals, mobility assistance, and reporting to doctors or nurses. In addition, there are additional medically-oriented tasks they perform. CNAs usually work with multiple patients per day, and their responsibilities vary from patient to patient.
- HHA: HHAs typically do not have any specialized education pertaining to their duties. However, there is an extensive training program involved in the process of becoming an HHA. This position requires both hands-on training and an exam administered by a registered nurse. These tests are to gauge your competency and to determine if you are capable of your job’s duties. Depending on your state, you may pursue the national medication aide certification exam (MACE).
- CNA: CNAs must have a state-issued license to provide care. The requirements vary depending on your state, but most states require formal training and extensive experience of supervised practice. Training typically covers basic duties and the basics of nursing. Some CNAs can also take classes pertaining to specific skills they may need for their future clients, such as dementia care, hospice care, and palliative care.
- HHA: Home Health Aides do not need a certification to perform their duties.
- CNA: Certified Nursing Assistants do require certifications and a license to perform their duties, but the required certifications vary by state.
- HHA: In client’s homes.
- CNA: In client’s homes, retirement homes, hospitals, rehab centers, hospice care centers, assisted living facilities, adult daycare centers, and more.
- HHA: Since there is no clinical training involved in becoming an HHA, there is usually no upward job mobility. It is not impossible to move up as an HHA, but doing so requires extra training.
- CNA: Since most CNAs work in medical settings, like hospitals, there is usually a fair amount of opportunity to work up to administrative roles.
- HHA: The average salary for a home health aide is around $22,000.
- CNA: Certified nursing assistants, on average, make between $27,000-$35,000.
Home Care Agencies, HHAs & CNAs
While it is possible to hire an HHA or CNA to assist in you or your loved one’s life, a Home Care Agency provides an additional standard for training, support, and resources that someone outside of the agency doesn’t have. They typically provide additional services that assist caregivers, HHAs, or CNAs so they may perform at their job better.
Summary of HHA vs CNA
HHAs and CNAs provide similar services for clients and patients, but ultimately the decision on which is right for you depends on you or your loved one’s needs. Both assist in making home life easier. That said, if you need additional support recovering from an illness or injury, a CNA’s help is most likely preferable.
When you work with an in-home care organization like JEVS at Home, the support and guidance our HHAs and CNAs receive make a world of difference. At JEVS at Home, we believe in providing legendary service to our clients, so we ensure all of our associates have the training, certifications, and support they need to do their job.