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Understanding Live-In Care by Certified Home Health Aides

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

According to the Administration for Community Living, the older adult population represents 14.1% of the U.S. population; about one in every seven Americans. By 2040, there will be approximately 82.3 million older persons in the United States; over twice the number in 2000. As family members age, arranging for necessary care while keeping them comfortable in their home can be a challenge. Many families look to live-in care by Certified Home Health Aides. These individuals can help to improve a patient’s quality of life by allowing him or her to remain safely in their home and provide peace of mind to family members. Often referred to as a “live-in,” a Certified Home Health Aide typically stays in a patient’s home around the clock on an ongoing basis, providing care throughout the day, living in separate sleeping quarters.

What is a Certified Home Health Aide?

A Certified Home Health Aide is more than just companionship for a loved one. These are highly-skilled caregivers that have completed a 76-hour Homemaker-Home Health Aide Certification Training program. This type of program includes 60 hours of classroom instruction and 16 hours of clinical and laboratory instruction through a state-approved training program. The New Jersey Board of Nursing requires students attend all 76 hours of instruction in order to be eligible for certification. Certified Home Health Aides are also required to pass a criminal background check through the New Jersey Board of Nursing and have a promise of employment from a licensed home care agency. This level of skilled care can certainly put loved ones at ease knowing their family member is properly cared for in the comfort of their own home.

What can a Live-In Care Aide Do?

A Live-In Care Aide works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) to attend to a patient’s needs on a daily basis. This includes personal care, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, and medication reminders. They can also provide meal preparation and offer light housekeeping and laundry care. What might be most important to the patient is the companion care these Aides provide. While their family knows their loved one is safe, the patient has companionship during the day to help feel independent and can continue to enjoy living at home doing what they like to do.

How to Decide on a Home Health Aide

While some family members may feel the process of selecting a Home Health Aide as overwhelming, it can be quite straightforward as long as they follow an organized process.

First, make a list of care needs the patient requires. This should include everything from the help required to dress and prepare meals, to medication reminders. Next, begin to make appointments to meet potential Home Health Aides in the home of the family member. What may be most important is to make sure to include the family member that requires care in the selection and decision making process. It is the family member that will be with the Aide on a daily basis. They need to develop a rapport and enjoy each other’s company. If the family member is not comfortable or included, the process will be more difficult. They need to be treated as an adult and not told what to do like a child.

While meeting with potential Home Health Aides, make sure to ask if the individual is licensed, bonded and insured. These are indicators of a reputable and professional aide. Additionally, make sure to ask about the back-up process if the aide is sick or unable to work on a specific day. Everyone gets sick and has personal issues that require attention, so it is important to understand how to handle these situations so the patient remains cared for and safe. It is also important to understand any emergency processes that are in place with the agency. For example, is an RN available in case of questions or an emergency? If something comes up with the Health Aide and care is required quickly, how is the need handled? These are important questions to have answered before deciding on an agency and a Home Health Aide.


Deciding on a Live-In Home Health Aide is a big decision for everyone involved. The family needs to feel confident in the care the Aide will provide and the patient needs to feel comfortable with this new person that will live in their home. The Aide and patient need to develop their own routine for daily care and meal times, and more importantly, they need to be comfortable with each other. By taking some time to do some initial research and meet with potential Aides on an individual basis, everyone will feel comfortable in this new routine.

Staff Writer, Deirdre Conboy-Mariotti, RN BSN