Do you have elderly family members that need help in the home? Are you looking for a new career path? Do you have an interest in helping people who are sick? Becoming an in-home caregiver can be an extremely rewarding path while also being emotionally challenging. There are many different roles an in-home caregiver can have, ranging from simply driving your patient around to helping them do their day-to-day tasks. In this article, we will explore the path of becoming a caregiver, how much it costs, how long it takes, and what to expect.
How Much Does it Cost to Become an In-Home Caregiver? Becoming an in-home caregiver can be achieved through many different avenues. Depending on the route that you choose, it may cost you anywhere from $60 to $4000 to become an in-home caregiver. This wide range is created by either choosing to take the basic caregiver training course or choosing to be certified as a nursing assistant or other medical professional.
So now that you have a very general idea about how much it could cost you to become an in-home caregiver, let’s discover what being a caregiver entails and the kinds of training you need to complete.
Becoming an In-Home Caregiver
Professional caregivers have several different policies and procedures they must follow, just like any other medical professional. The training you will receive will include HIPAA, elder abuse, medication monitoring, care plan notes, communication, personal care, infection control, emergency procedures, and other professional training.
Though your duties will vary depending on your patient, it is important to know and understand all of these different aspects of home care. There is a reason your patient needs home care. Understanding emergency procedures and how to notice signs of changing health not only gives family members peace of mind but also provides your patient extra protection.
If you’ve chosen to take the basic caregiver training, you can simply sign up for the course and purchase materials and the exam at less than $100 (according to the state you will be working in). Once you pass the exam, you will be certified and able to work as a caregiver.
Differences Between a Caregiver vs. An In-Home Caregiver?
A caregiver that is not live-in will work with the patient during the day. They are paid regular hours and receive compensation for any overtime work. Live-in caregivers will typically administer the same care, but will stay overnight with the patient, for a few days at a time.
Live-in caregivers are given free time. Depending on the care required, will be given a reprieve with another caregiver if 24-hour care is necessary.
What Are the Other Routes to Becoming an In-Home Caregiver?
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that there is more than one way to become an in-home caregiver. Each of these routes will get you to the same role, however, compensation, benefits, and other factors will depend on the level of training and certification you have.
Certified Nursing Aide/Assistant, CNA, and certified Home Health Aides are the two other courses you can take to become a caregiver. Both of these routes will likely cost more than the basic caregiver training because it is a higher level of certification and training.
Certified Nursing Aides must complete state-approved training courses and pass their CNA exam. The training is typically about 120 hours. Many individuals prefer this route when they are looking to hire in-home caregivers. It also gives the workers themselves more flexibility in their careers as well as higher compensation.
Home Health Aides is a term used in a few different states that refers to the same thing as CNAs or basic certified caregivers – trained aides working in the home. Working in the home requires slightly different skills and procedures so there is a chance you will need additional training to work in the home.
In-Home Caregiver Duties
Your duties as an in-home caregiver will vary greatly depending on the level of care your patient needs. For the most part, you will be working with elders who live alone and require help with tasks around the house.
The training you undergo will prepare you for several of the duties you will likely need to perform while on the job. Here are explanations that accompany the training:
- Care Plan Notes: When providing care, it is important to record notes, schedules, activities, behaviors, food intake, medications, etc. as well as legal requirements to track the functional ability and mental status of the client. You will submit your notes to a care manager that you won’t interact with every day. If there are additional caregivers, they will need to know what happened while the patient was in your care.
- Communication Skills: As an in-home caregiver, you will develop a relationship with your patient, and understanding how to effectively communicate with them is essential. Communicating with individuals of different generations, individuals with Alzheimer’s, hearing difficulties, and special needs is important so that trust can be established.
- Personal Care: You may work for a patient who requires assistance with different personal care tasks like bathing, dressing, feeding, exercise, mouth care, toileting, and medication.
- Hygiene and Infection Control: Both maintaining good hygiene for yourself and your patient is important to protect and control infections. Things like washing hands, using gloves, protecting yourself, and assisting your patient with good daily hygiene will create a healthier environment.
- Emergency Procedures: First aid and learning what to do in an emergency is essential for being an in-home caregiver. You will need to know how to respond and gauge what is an emergency and what can be handled by you or a visit to a doctor.
The things just mentioned are the basic training you will receive when you become an in-home caregiver, but there are likely many other things you will experience while on the job.
Are You Ready to Become an In-Home Caregiver?
At the beginning of this article, it was mentioned that being an in-home caregiver is a rewarding job. However, it is also emotionally challenging. Many imagine being in this role is exactly what they were made for. Before you begin, you should think through why you want the job and if you are prepared for it.
Taking care of elders is a special role. You will likely create wonderful friendships and relationships with your patient as you spend time with them. This can lead to an emotional toll when they eventually pass. You must prepare for this possibility.
There is also an added legal challenge when it comes to working in a home with a patient. Depending on the family you work with, they could pursue lawsuits against you if they feel you have provided improper care. (This is why accurate and specific care notes are extremely important in this job.)
Before deciding to pursue this career path, reflect on yourself and your abilities to decide if this is something you can handle. Too many individuals begin this work that are not accurately prepared to provide proper care to the elders in our society.
When to Hire an In-Home Caregiver
In-home caregivers are often hired to take care of patients who are recovering from surgery, are terminally ill, have a disability, or need help with daily tasks. If you are a family member who is concerned for your elder relative and trying to decide if in-home care is the next step, there are a few things you can think about to help you make your decision.
Family often feels obligated to take care of each other, as they should to a certain extent. If you have reached the point where caring for your elders is too stressful or too involved, or maybe they need more care than you can give – you should begin looking at home health care.
It can be very hard to make this decision. You don’t want to feel like you’re giving up. You also don’t want your family to feel as though you could have done more. But, sometimes, home care is the best way to go.
When it is time to make a decision, think about it and talk with your family. Especially the individual at the center of the subject. Are they having trouble remembering to take medicine? Are you having a hard time helping them complete their daily tasks? Have they advanced to where you can no longer provide them compassionate and qualified care?
It may be hard. However, making this decision will often be the best thing for you and your family. You can always consult a physician for their advice and whether they think this is the next step.