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New Home Health CNA


I've been a CNA for over two years but all of my experience has been in facilities. I'm having my first home health job this weekend and it will be in assisted living facility where I'm guessing I'll be like a 1:1. I'm so nervous. Do you have any tips for me? What to bring, etc. Can someone just give me a general idea of what my day will be like? I'm in IL!

Thanks so much guys!

brillohead, ADN, RN

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty. Has 5 years experience.

Sounds like you'll be doing Private Duty work, rather than Home Health? Are you there for an entire shift (Private Duty), or just visiting for a short period of time (Home Health)?

There's a separate forum here for Private Duty: https://allnurses.com/private-duty-nursing/ There are threads there about "what's in your bag" of things that people bring to work with them. (Many work overnight shifts, but some things are applicable for any shift.)

If you will indeed be there for an entire daytime shift, I would plan on bringing food/drink to cover your entire shift, plus bring a book / magazine / tablet to occupy yourself with if there is downtime. I like to keep a change of clothes in my vehicle (don't need to carry it around, but like to have it handy in the event of a poop / urine / vomit / etc. explosion). Also any personal-care items you may need -- nail file, hand lotion, feminine products, lip balm, etc.

I will be doing Private Duty I guess, but I am through an agency so I will eventually be doing HH. I just wanted to pick up these shifts for an initial experience since I am more comfortable.

What do you do if you need to use the washroom? I am also required to take a 30 min break, how does that work? I guess I just kind of would like a better idea of the little things. I've only seen it from a facility POV which sometimes isn't the most positive.

brillohead, ADN, RN

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty. Has 5 years experience.

Most PDN work is through agencies, FYI.

Using the washroom will depend on the circumstances of your client. In my cases, I just make sure needs are met / alarms are set as needed and I go when I need to.

As for breaks, we don't get them -- we take our break "while working" meaning we are still "on duty". If a vent alarm goes off while I'm eating my dinner at 01:30, I have to leave my dinner and go deal with the alarm situation.

Since you'll be in an ALF, I would check with them to see what their policy is, in addition to asking your agency. If the client will be eating dinner and under the ALF staff's care at a certain time, that might be when you're expected to take your break. Or they may have a certain time when their staff will come relieve you. There are no industry-specific rules.