Home Health Aide Curriculum Details

In Penn Foster College’s Home Health Aide courses, you will learn about the duties of a home health aide, as well as the different skills required to work in the home health care setting. Our program consists of nine courses designed to help set you on the right path towards your career goals, as well as an externship to help you gain valuable hands-on experience working in the home health care field.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students to assist clients with Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, monitor and report changes in a client’s health, and be an instrumental part of a Home Care Team in the role of a Home Health Aide working in home or community settings.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Describe a direct care worker’s/home health aide’s role in a private home or community setting
  • Apply ethical and legal rules and regulations for direct care workers
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills for speaking with patients, family, medical personnel, and other caregivers using appropriate language and terminology
  • Apply standard procedures to maintain clean and safe environments for both themselves and their patients, including residential, transportation, and outside locations
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in areas of science relevant to the home health aide’s role, including anatomy and physiology
  • Apply standard practices to assist patients with the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, physical movement, and mental exercises
  • Assess patients’ physical and mental condition, including vital signs, behavior, activity level, and mental acuity
  • Administer medications, prescribed treatments, and basic first aid as directed by patients’ healthcare manager (when appropriate and allowed)
  • React appropriately to emergency situations
  • Maintain accurate records of patient care, condition, progress, and change
  • Create meal plans according to prescribed dietary recommendations and restrictions
  • Develop an instructional plan to teach families how to care for patients and react to emotional, medical, and physical situations
  • Discuss unique practices and procedures involved with caring for special populations
In this course, you'll learn tips for how to be a good Penn Foster student.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites

Students will receive an introduction to the role of the Home Health Aide working in the home or community setting, explore current trends and career options, and discuss professionalism, regulations, responsibilities and standards.

Objectives:

  • Identify Home Health Aide roles and skills needed for providing home and community based care
  • Explain specific medical and non-medical jobs and responsibilities of the Home Health Aide
  • Summarize state and federal regulations and standards of care applicable to Home Health Aides
  • Describe how the health care delivery and reimbursement systems are organized
  • Identify different career options and current trends for Home Health Aides

Through this course students will examine the importance of human interaction, including verbal and nonverbal communication, the communication feedback loop, barriers, cultural competence, and effective communication techniques. Students will learn communication skills to assist in caring for patients and families to meet health care needs, therapeutic communication skills, and unique practices involved with caring for special populations. This course also introduces students to basic medical definitions and abbreviations, including word analysis, word usage, roots, prefix and suffix, with an emphasis placed on spelling and constructing medical terms. Students will be given an introduction to the positional and directional terms used to describe the human body.

Objectives:

  • Identify the components of interpersonal communication
  • Explain the skills required for effective oral communication
  • List the best practices and prejudices involved in forming effective workplace communication
  • Describe the essential elements of therapeutic communication
  • Explain the ways that technology can enhance or become a barrier to communication
  • Identify skills and strategies used to communicate with clients and families
  • Discuss different ways of communicating with clients with behavioral and other disabilities
  • Summarize the history of medical terminology and how terms are formed
  • Describe the relationship between the structures of the body
  • Differentiate the positional and directional terms used to describe anatomical locations
  • Identify the nutrients that fuel basic body functions

This course will familiarize students with various body systems including structure, function, diseases, disorders, and treatments. Students will also learn drug delivery systems, drug administration routes, drug classifications, and commonly used medications for various organ system disorders.

Objectives:

  • Describe the anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system
  • Explain cardiovascular system disorders and treatments
  • Identify the composition of blood and hematologic system in general
  • Recognize various blood disorders and treatment options
  • Describe the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system
  • Explain various diseases and treatments of the respiratory system
  • Identify the components and functions of the endocrine system
  • Recognize common endocrine system disorders and treatment options
  • Describe the gastrointestinal system and its disorders and treatment options
  • Describe the urinary system and its disorders and treatment options
  • Describe the reproductive system and its disorders and treatment options

This course is a continuation of Body Systems and Medication 1. Students will continue to learn about various body systems, drug delivery systems, drug administration routes, drug classifications, and commonly used medications for various organ system disorders. They’ll also learn basic medication calculations, storage, how to assist patients with administration, and proper documentation.

Objectives:

  • Explain the basic functions of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems
  • Identify the integumentary and musculoskeletal system structures and their functions
  • List common integumentary and musculoskeletal system disorders and their effects
  • Distinguish which treatments are used to treat common integumentary and musculoskeletal system disorders
  • Illustrate various sensory organs, common diseases, and treatment options
  • Explain the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system
  • Describe common nervous system diseases and psychiatric disorders along with treatment options
  • Illustrate immune system components and functions
  • Describe the common immune system diseases and treatments
  • Explain cancer and chemotherapy medications used to treat cancer
  • Describe the Six Rights of Drug Administration and their importance to your client's health
  • Describe the most common routes of drug delivery
  • Perform basic medication dosage calculations
  • Explain proper medication record documentation for drug administration
  • Identify methods that insure medication safety and proper storage

This course is designed to train you in providing personal care to patients to meet their physical, psychological, and mental needs. You’ll develop homemaking and organizational skills as well as a working knowledge of IADLs. You’ll learn to apply standard practices and safety procedures. The course demonstrates how to take vital signs. You’ll learn to perform a basic health assessment with concentration on observing patients for condition changes. This course discusses basic infection control and prevention strategies, with emphasis on handwashing and bag technique. You’ll explore how to prevent spread of infection as well as special precautions. The course also demonstrates safety precautions and procedures for maintaining a clean and safe environment for the worker (aide), for patients in the home, at outside locations, and while transporting, along with proper body mechanics.

Objectives:

  • Explain the procedures for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both clients and yourself
  • Identify personal care tasks, including the steps involved in bedmaking and elimination care
  • Describe specimen collection and assessment procedures and other special procedures needed for client care

Textbook: Mosby’s Textbook for the Home Care Aide, Third Edition, Elsevier

This course encourages students to develop healthy eating habits for themselves and their clients. It provides an overview of nutritional and hydration needs. Students will learn meal planning, preparation, and food safety. The relationship between nutrition and health is explored. Maintaining a balanced diet is discussed, and is linked to appropriate physical activity and fluid balance.

Objectives:

  • Describe how proper nutrition is important
  • Examine the body's way of processing food
  • Analyze refined carbohydrates' relationship to obesity and diabetes
  • Examine functions of lipids and essential fatty acids
  • Explain amino acids' relationship with proteins
  • Compare water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamin characteristics
  • Differentiate between major and trace minerals
  • Assess factors affecting the absorption and metabolism of alcohol
  • Analyze what’s meant by a healthful weight
  • Discover how nutrition and physical activity support good health
  • Outline nutrition's affects throughout your life cycle
  • Examine risks and procedures of food transportation, storage, and preparation

Textbook: Nutrition for Life; Pearson

This course provides an overview of various dimensions of aging, including the aging process and how to provide competent care to the aging patient. It explores normal biological aging, attitudes toward aging, myths of aging, and how to monitor and assess for changes in psychosocial and functional status. It teaches how to develop an instructional plan for families to effectively manage physiologic and/or psychosocial changes. It also discusses end of life issues. Finally, it covers how to identify and handle emergency situations.

Objectives:

  • Describe human needs and considerations and the documentation required when meeting those needs for clients
  • Explain how to care for clients at any stage of life
  • Describe types of special client needs, emergency situations, and emergency procedures

Textbook: Mosby's Textbook for the Home Care Aide, Third Edition, Elsevier

In this course, students will learn how law affects healthcare practitioners, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of healthcare information, and the laws regulating healthcare information collected and maintained by government agencies.

Objectives:

  • Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation
  • Distinguish between liability, negligence, and malpractice in relation to healthcare
  • Determine medical malpractice and criminal charge defenses
  • Identify the various ethical issues that healthcare professionals face
  • Examine contemporary medical ethical issues
  • Analyze ethical reproductive health issues
  • Recognize ethical end of life issues
  • Analyze the court's role in healthcare information and litigation
  • Examine patient's medical record requirements and common issues
  • Summarize the common-law basis for confidentiality
  • Apply privacy rules to patient information
  • Describe OSHA's safety rules
  • Identify special types of health information
  • Recognize special rules and social-policy issues of HIV patients
  • Evaluate risk management's affect on quality and electronic medical records

Students are required to perform a 40-hour externship prior to completing this program. While Penn Foster provides students with the tools and resources to obtain an externship through our partnerships with Home Health Care agencies, it is the student’s responsibility to ultimately find and secure the externship at a site in their area.


All students are required to have a minimum cumulative grade average of 65% in this program in order to participate in an externship.  Externship requirements vary by agency and state but will generally include a Criminal Background Check; a 2-Stage PPD Test showing negative results for TB; Child Abuse Clearance (PA State required); a Valid Driver’s License and Proof of Auto Insurance; and access to a functioning vehicle that is available for use during scheduled work hours.  Additional items may be required of the student based upon the agency where they choose to do their externship.  Any costs associated with these requirements will be the responsibility of the student.

The goal of the externship is to produce competent home health aides by developing the essential skill sets through practical experience. The externship process and requirements are discussed in the course materials. Further information is given on home health aide regulations and requirements as applied to each state.

There are also some states that require Home Health Aides to be a Certified Nursing Aide in order to complete the required externship in this program and or for employment in that state. Please click here to refer to state-by-state training requirements for the state where you plan to work to learn more before enrolling in this program.

Objective:

  • Demonstrate home health aide skills learned throughout the program

Equipment: Blood Pressure Kit for the Home Health Aide

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.
The Penn Foster Home Health Aide diploma program aligns to and exceeds the minimum federal standard for home health aide training: 75 hours of classroom instruction, including 16 hours of supervised practicum. The Penn Foster program consists of 200 hours of online and self-study training, 40 hours of a required supervised practicum, and then assessments. In states where additional practicum hours are required, students may be able to arrange for extended externships beyond what Penn Foster requires.

State training requirements vary for Home Health Aides, with some states requiring more than the Federal standard and may include requirements beyond those offered in this program. There are also some states that require Home Health Aides to be a Certified Nursing Aide in order to complete the required externship in this program and or for employment in that state. Please see instructions below to refer to State-by-State Training Requirements for the state where you plan to work to learn more before enrolling in this program. Where additional training may be required, the Penn Foster program will help to prepare for employment in Direct Care Worker positions other than Home Health Aide, such as Home Care Aide, Personal Care Aide, Direct Care Worker, or Caregiver.

Click here for instructions to download file.
Students are required to perform a 40-hour externship prior to completing this program. While Penn Foster provides students with the tools and resources to obtain an externship through our partnerships with Home Health Care agencies, it is the student’s responsibility to ultimately find and secure the externship at a site in their area.

All students are required to have a minimum cumulative grade average of 65% in this program in order to participate in an externship. Externship requirements vary by agency and state but will generally include a Criminal Background Check; a 2-Stage PPD Test showing negative results for TB; Child Abuse Clearance (PA State required); a Valid Driver’s License and Proof of Auto Insurance; and access to a functioning vehicle that is available for use during scheduled work hours. Additional items may be required of the student based upon the agency where they choose to do their externship. Any costs associated with these requirements will be the responsibility of the student.

There are also some states that require home health aides to be a certified nursing aide in order to complete the required externship in this program and or for employment in that state. Please see instructions below to refer to state-by-state training requirements for the state where you plan to work to learn more before enrolling this program.

Click here for instructions to download file.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

DEAC
SARA
Penn Foster Sample Lesson

Sample Home Health Aide Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a home health aide course would look like.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

DEAC
SARA
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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