In North Carolina, home health agencies must meet both state and federal regulations.
At the state level, home health care governance falls under the North Carolina General Statutes (131E-135 through 142) and the rules are under Title 10A of the North Carolina Administrative Code. Home health agencies must hold a license from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Service Regulation. This licensure ensures agencies meet standards regarding patient care, staff competencies, and record keeping.
At the federal level, home agencies funded by Medicare or Medicaid must follow the conditions for participation of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS).
How to Become a Home Health Aide in North Carolina
Work at a Home Health Agency
If you’re just starting out, one of the best ways to get experience and training as a home health aide is by working at a home health agency. Most agencies will require a certain level of training for home health aides, but this is often provided by the agency itself.
To work at a Medicare-certified home health agency, you must meet the minimum standard of 75 hours of training and 16 hours of practical work. As stated above, this type of training is usually provided on the job once you’re employed.
You will also need to have a criminal background check in order to work for a home health agency. This is required by the state for any healthcare worker who will be entering a patient’s home.
Receive Training and Certification
The state does not have training requirements for home health aides. However, taking a training course or receiving certification can broaden your career opportunities as a home health aide.
Home Health Aide Certification
The National Association of Home Care & Hospice offers a nationally-recognized home health aide certification program. The program includes training, skills evaluation, and a written exam. For more information about the NAHC home health aide certification program, call (202) 547- 7424.
Some North Carolina colleges and vocational schools provide home health aide certification programs. Check with your local post-secondary institution to find out if they offer courses for home health aides.
Nurse Aide Certification
While home health aides are not required to be certified nurse aides, some agencies will require this higher level of training. These programs are more in-depth than the typical coursework for home health aides, and may be beneficial for career advancement. Successful completion of a nurse aide certification program will get you listed on the Health Care Personnel Registry. Here is a comprehensive list of state-approved nurses aide certification programs in North Caroina.
Home Health Aide Jobs in North Carolina
As the North Carolina baby boomer population ages, the need for home health aides will continue to increase. There are currently ample opportunities for those seeking a career in home health care in North Carolina.
The following online job sites can help you find a home health aide job:
How to Find a Home Health Aide in North Carolina
There are several options for locating home health care providers. In addition to asking friends and family for their home health aide recommendations, consider the following:
- Ask your physician for a referral. In addition to recommending a trusted home health agency, your doctor can also provide the necessary orders for your loved one to receive home health care.
- Check the Yellow Pages. Most home health agencies in your area will be listed in the phone book.
- Use an Online Directory. The following are comprehensive lists and searchable directories of home health providers in North Carolina:
How to Choose a North Carolina HHA
Finding the best home health aide is two-fold: You’ll want someone who 1) meets state and federal requirements and 2) has a personality suited for home health care (such as compassion and trustworthiness). Consider the following questions when interviewing home health agencies or individual home health agents:
What to Ask a Home Health Agency
- Is your agency Medicare certified? (This means the agency meets the conditions of participation for Medicare certification)
- Is your agency accredited? (If yes, ask to see their most recent survey from the accrediting body.)
- What kind of training do your home health aides receive?
- Do you evaluate your home health aides’ competencies on a regular basis?
- Will someone be performing periodic checks on the aide working with my loved one?
- Do you perform background checks on your home health aides? (This is required by the state for anyone entering a patient’s home)
What to Ask an Independent Home Health Aide
- What services do you provide?
- Have you worked with a wide range of patients? (Some aides specialize in caring for seniors, disabled, and juvenile patients)
- What kind of training have you received?
- Do you hold any certifications? (Your home health aide should have First Aid and CPR training, in addition to hands-on experience)
- Do you have any patients I could speak to as references? (An experienced home health aide should be able to provide strong references)
North Carolina HHA Regulating Agencies and Resources
The following sources used in this article can provide further information on home health services in North Carolina:
- North Carolina Home Care Rules and Regulations
- Consumer’s Guide to Home Care
- Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina
- North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services
- North Carolina Association on Aging