Homecare professionals have different skills, knowledge, and levels of experience. It’s important to understand what their certifications actually mean.
Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners
- Nurses are licensed clinical professionals who conduct physical examinations, assess clinical findings, and develop care plans with a physician’s approval.
- Skilled nursing services can include administering and monitoring responses to medications and infusion therapies, wound care, tube feedings and intravenous therapies.
- Nurse practitioners can also diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Master’s Level Social Workers (MSWs).
- These are licenses clinical professionals who help people function in their homes and resolve personal and family problems.
- Typical duties include: Assessing and treating depressions, anxiety, emotion problems, behavioral problems, mediation of family decision making, advising on long term care planning, navigating systems and processes.
- What they don’t do: Prescribe or distribute medications.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Vocational Nurses (LVNs).
- LPNs are licensed clinical professionals who work with a physician’s approval.
- LVNs provide skilled nursing care with the approval of a registered nurse or physician.
- Typical duties include: Physical exams, evaluation of vital signs and medical tests, monitoring responses to medications, wound care, tube feedings, injections, intravenous monitoring, development of care plans.
- What they don’t do: Diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Home Health Aides (HHAs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).
- The most common type of senior care giver.
- Their main value is that they help with ADLs and IADLs, allowing people to remain in their homes.
- HHAs and CNAs usually have 75-150 hours of training, including classroom and field education.
- Typical duties include: Meal preparation, laundry, cleaning, personal care such as bathing and dressing and grooming, reminders about medication, vital signs.
- What they don’t do: Assess vital signs, administer medications, heavy duty housework.
- They offer friendly support, cognitive stimulation, and socialization beyond assistance with daily activities.
- Typical duties include: Shopping, laundry, errands, meal preparation, light housekeeping, talking about common interests.
- Specialty companions can provide support in focused areas such as help with paperwork and computer work as well as provide life enhancements through music, art, current event discussions and other activities.
- What they don’t do: Provide personal or health care such as taking vital signs, reminding people about medications or helping with bathing, dressing, or personal care.