HHA vs. CNA: Which Path is Right for You?

Home Health Aides and Certified Nursing Aides, also known as HHAs and CNAs, have very similar roles in the larger healthcare community. Both assist, care for, and provide companionship to patients in need. Not to mention, both career paths are some of the fastest routes into the medical field today. However, the work environments, the job descriptions, and the training requirements of HHAs and CNAs are actually quite distinct. To help you better understand the differences between HHAs and CNAs, and further, which career is right for you, Stone Academy outlines the basics below.

Home Health Aide (HHA) Job Description

Home Health Aides help people who are limited by age, disability, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment and who are living in their homes as opposed to a healthcare facility. These patients cannot carry out all their daily living activities, such as getting dressed and eating meals, and therefore cannot live alone without help. That is where a Home Health Aide comes in. HHAs make it possible for these people to stay in the comfort of their homes, rather than move to a long-term care setting.

HHAs follow a doctor’s treatment plan to provide at-home care and assistance for patients in need. They usually work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or a Physical Therapist. Typical duties include:

  • Assisting clients with personal daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating
  • Checking vital signs, including pulse, temperature, and breathing rates
  • Helping with simple prescribed exercises and at-home therapies
  • Giving massages and caring for skin
  • Changing bandages or dressings
  • Administering and helping patients take their medications
  • Providing emotional support for patients
  • Cleaning the home, laundry, and changing linens
  • Planning patient appointments, arranging transportation as necessary
  • Shopping for groceries and preparing meals based on patients’ dietary specifications
  • May also help with medical equipment, such as ventilators for breathing

Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) Job Description

Certified Nursing Aides, as their title implies, are nursing assistants. Similar to Home Health Aides, they work under the supervision of Registered Nurses. However, an important distinction between an HHA vs. CNA is their place of work. CNAs typically work in clinical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living centers. They provide basic care for patients admitted into these facilities, monitoring