How to Prepare for a Long-term Care Career

If you love to help people, few careers are as rewarding as the long-term care field. This work gives you the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life every day. With an aging population, there is more of a need than ever for committed workers in this field. But before you can begin work, you will need training.

Different long-term jobs require different types of preparation. Here are a few in-demand long-term care field jobs and how to prepare for them.

What kind of jobs are available in the long-term care field?

In-Home Caregiver (Home Care Aide – Certified / HCA-C)

Caregivers are the direct support workers who care for clients. They provide one-on-one support to help people who face challenges in performing daily living activities, also known as ADLs. They typically perform housekeeping tasks, help with personal hygiene, go grocery shopping, take patients to medical appointments, help clean, prepare meals, and provide companionship.

Most caregivers work in their clients’ homes. Many are employed through a caregiver agency. These agencies often have established career training programs for caregivers who wish to specialize or pursue other positions in the long-term care field. Other Caregivers are employed as Individual Providers, or IPs. IPs get paid directly through the state for the work they provide. There are benefits to each employment route. Many Caregivers end up working both as an IP and through a Home Care agency. Some benefits to being a Caregiver include having a flexible schedule, and building strong personal relationships with their clients.If you love helping people and enjoy variety in your work, working as a Caregiver may be right for you.

Nursing Assistant – Certified (NAC)

NACs, also known as CNAs (certified nursing assistants) in many other states, do many of the same tasks as caregivers, but with additional medical responsibilities. They may monitor patients’ vital signs, report information to doctors or nurses, and provide catheter care.

NACs work in a wide variety of settings, not just in the in-home care care environment. You can find them in hospitals, clinics, adult family homes, and more. If you’re looking for an in-demand adult care career with opportunities in a wide variety of settings, you should consider becoming a NAC.

RN Case Manager

A RN case manager is a registered nurse who manages patients’ clinical care. This includes overseeing other staff members, keeping track of medications and equipment, and working closely with any doctors who are involved.

The main role of an RN case manager is to ensure care resources and services are being used in the best way possible. It’s their job to know how and where to get the necessary resources at an affordable cost. This often means working with partners in the pharmaceutical, insurance, and medical technology industries to make care more affordable.

If you want to advocate for patients and their families and don’t mind pursuing extensive education, becoming an RN case manager might be right for you.

Care Specialists

Many specialists are needed in the long-term care setting. Social workers, occupational therapists, and speech-language therapists can all be integral to some patients’ care. These jobs tend to require far more education than other home care jobs.

How do I prepare for a long-term care career?

There are many pathways into the home care career. Some home care jobs, particularly specialist jobs, require an advanced degree such as a master’s degree. RN case managers must graduate from an accredited nursing program such as a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

If you’re looking to enter the home care field, one of the best ways to get started is to become certified as a home care aide (HCA-C). This allows you to work as a caregiver. From there, you obtain additional training to pursue other positions in the home care setting.

Workers in Washington State are required to take 75 hours of basic caregiver training to apply for certification. This includes 5 hours of orientation and safety training, 40 hours of core training, and 30 hours of population-specific training. After training is completed, students must complete a State exam to earn their Home Care Aide Certified (HCA-C) credential.

Sunrise offers all the training you need to become an HCA-C in Washington State. With flexible online and in-person offerings, you can fit training around your schedule.

Contact us today to learn more about our 75-hour Basic Home Care Aide Training.

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