Types of Caregivers

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Home health caregivers can offer flexibility and security.

There are several types of caregivers when you are referring to assisted living, home health and other forms of long-term care. Knowing the different types of caregivers can make choosing the right one for your needs or your loved ones needs easier. Each type has their own required certifications or background and experience you may want to consider prior to hiring or considering a caregiver for a job.


Companion caregivers are very common for seniors or baby boomers who need someone with them during the day. This type of caregiver requires no certifications and usually references of previous companion or family care positions are suitable for determining if they are a good fit for the position. A companion caregiver will perform housekeeping duties as well as cooking, transportation, some prescription management and light care duties.


A CNA, certified nursing assistant/aide, provides caregiving services in home health environments as well as in hospitals and assisted living communtiies. In fact, most assisted living communities and long-term care units consider the CNA to be the backbone of their care plans for residents. A CNA generally enrolls in and completes a six week to six month course as a nursing assistant. At the end of their course they will complete a written exam and a practical exam in front of a nursing board. If they pass, they will be given their certification which must be renewed each year through the state nursing board.


An HHA, home health aide, is very similar to a CNA. The differences between an HHA and CNA greatly depend on the state of certification. Most states have no differences in the required training obtained by a CNA and HHA. In fact, some states consider someone who passes a CNA exam to be both CNA and HHA qualified and certified. However, there are some states that have several differences. One of the key differences is with medical injections. A CNA cannot give injections in these states while an HHA is not only certified to give injections, but also certified to handle feeding tubes and other procedures.