Home health aides are professionals who provide basic care for patients, such as monitoring vital signs in their own residences. In New York State, all home health aides must gain professional certification prior to working with patients. The New York State Department of Health oversees the registration program for home health aides, enforcing the requirements of certification as outlined by the state's laws.
All candidates for home health aide certification in New York must complete a training course to qualify for credentialing. At the conclusion of the training, students receive a certificate and an application for the state registry. Prospective aides then submit a copy of the certificate to the state Department of Health along with the completed application. Candidates must pass a criminal and professional background check to be eligible for the registry. Those with a history of felony convictions or a history of patient neglect or abuse are ineligible for certification.
Candidates for home health aide certification in New York must obtain their training from a program approved by the state's Department of Health; as of March 2011, 330 programs had this approval. Home health care agencies typically offer state-approved training. Agencies usually offer the training solely to their employees and require prospective students to pass a preemployment screening prior to enrolling in the course. Agencies may pay prospective aides for participating in the training or use the course as a prerequisite to receiving pay.
The New York State Department of Health establishes the curriculum that all training programs for home health aide certification must follow. The course must last a minimum of 2,400 hours. Of this required training time, 2,000 hours occur in classrooms, with the additional 400 hours consisting of laboratory experience or hands-on experience with patients. Topics covered in the training include food and nutrition, safety and injury prevention, infection control and personal care. At the conclusion of the course, students must pass a written examination to receive their certificates.
Once issued, home health aide certification in New York remains valid indefinitely, provided that candidates don't have a lapse in employment for 24 consecutive months. Those who don't work for a period of two years or more are marked as "lapsed" on the Home Health Aide Registry. To return their certification to an active status, home health aides must retake a state-approved training course as if they were new applicants.