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Caregiver Requirements in Pennsylvania

caregiver requirements pa

Ensuring Your Family Member Has the Proper Care and Supports

As a family caregiver, you want to ensure that your family member has the proper long-term care and support that they need to live a full and happy life. Whether you want to have home health care for your loved one or move them to assisted living or a nursing home, making sure the person responsible for the care of your loved one has met the necessary caregiver training requirements is probably one of your top concerns.

Or perhaps you want to know if you can be a paid family caregiver and if you need to only be 18 years or older to qualify. You may also want to know if there is a caregiver support program out there to help take some of the burden off of helping for your loved one, even if it is just something as simple as meal preparation.

There are many different programs that offer assistance or financial reimbursement to a family caregiver in Pennsylvania. Many of these programs, such as Community HealthChoices, are offered through the government and local communities, including the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (or Area Agency on Aging). In this article we’ll take a look at support programs, waiver programs/Medicaid waiver, and their eligibility requirements.

We’ll also look at requirements for caregivers in home care agencies/personal care agencies and home health agencies to help put your mind at ease.

Eligibility Requirements for Family Caregiver Support

Each caregiver support program has its own set of eligibility requirements, but generally, you must be an adult (18 years or older) who is considered the primary caregiver for an individual who has a chronic illness, disability, or other medical condition that requires them to have care and assistance in their own home. This can be medical care or personal care that improves the quality of their life.

We’ll briefly look at some of the programs available to caregivers in Pennsylvania, but we do recommend that you fully research each program’s eligibility requirements by visiting the program’s website.

Programs Through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The VA offers many different programs for veterans and their family caregivers. The first is the Program of General Caregiver Support Services, or PGCSS. This program offers peer support, caregiver training, and other resources for family caregivers. There are no eligibility requirements, other than you only need to be the general caregiver of a veteran who is enrolled in VA health who needs assistance with daily living activities or supervision due to an impairment or injury.

The second program offered through the VA you may find helpful is the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). This offers enhanced critical support for family caregivers of eligible veterans. With this program, you can be a paid family caregiver as you do receive a monthly stipend. There are other resources and support available to you including respite care and health insurance. There are eligibility requirements for this program related to veteran eligibility.

Pennsylvania Community HealthChoices (CHC)

Community HealthChoices (CHC) is a support service operated through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services which works to keep individuals in need of care in their homes for longer, rather than moving them to a long-term care facility. Benefits and services include respite care, medical supplies, counseling, and meal delivery (not meal preparation). Eligibility requirements are based on patient eligibility and Medicaid waivers.

Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program

This support program is offered through your local Area Agency on Aging. Caregivers can receive caregiver training, access to respite care, and even reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses associated with caregiving related services and supplies. There are three different categories of eligibility requirements and you only need to fall into one of the categories to qualify for this support program.

Professional Caregiver Training Requirements and Education

Now let’s take a look at the different education and caregiver training requirements for professional caregivers in home care, personal care and home health care agencies or facilities as laid out by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Personal Care Aide (PCA)

A personal care aide is someone who supports individuals with personal care and daily living activities. They can work in patients’ homes through a personal care agency or in long-term care facilities such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Caregiver training requirements for this professional include 12 hours of initial training in specific topics plus 12 hours of annual training in specific topics.

Home Health Aides (HHA) and Health Aides (HA)

A health aide or home health aide is a trained health care worker who provides basic care to those unable to care for themselves. Some of the assistance they provide include help with grooming, bathing, dressing, mobility and checking vital signs. Their additional training allows them to help monitor patient wellbeing. They work in patient homes through a home health care agency or in a long-term care facility. They require 75 hours of initial caregiver training and 12 hours of annual training.

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)

A certified nursing assistant helps individuals with mobility and activities of daily living, such as bathing and meal preparation. While nurse is in the name, a CNA is not classified as a nurse. There are no degree requirements, however in the state of Pennsylvania, they must complete a criminal background check and meet training and examination requirements, including 80 hours of training with 37.5 hours of clinical practice.

learn more about Caregiver Certification in PA.

Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)

Both RNs and LPNs offer medical, not personal, care. They both must complete a formal education during which they receive training and clinical practice. After completing their formal education, they must apply for licensing and be granted that license in order to work in the state of Pennsylvania.

Key Takeaways

The state of Pennsylvania works hard to ensure that patients are cared for through caregiver training requirements, as well as caregiver support and resources. There are a variety of programs, facilities and agencies in the state who can help ensure that your loved one lives a full and happy life.

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