The California Department of Health includes an Aide and Technician Certification section, which certifies nurses assistants to be qualified to work in the state. To become certified, aspiring certified nursing assistants must take an approved course consisting of at least 60 hours of lectures on basic nursing, patient rights and safe handling, social and psychological aspects of patient care and patient abuse prevention. Another 100 hours must be spent in actual patient care in a clinical setting. At least 2 hours of lecture time and at least 4 hours of practical work must be training in caring for patients with developmental disorders such as intellectual challenge, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebal palsy, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and mental illness.
The Department maintains lists of hundreds of qualified programs in the state, including private schools, community colleges, regional occupational programs (adult education) and healthcare facilities. Many of the schools have schedules to accommodate students who cannot attend full time. The American College of Nursing in Contra Costa County, Genova Health Institute in Los Angeles County and others offer classes on weekends and evenings. Programs lengths vary. Antelope Valley College in Los Angeles County offers a 5 week program while Baldwin Park USD and ACE, also in Los Angeles County, offers an 11 week program. To search for a training program in your area, go to http://www.cdph.ca.gov/services/training/Documents/CNATrainingPrograms.pdf for school programs and http://www.cdph.ca.gov for programs offered by healthcare facilities.
The California Health Department also recognizes the home health aide, a similar occupation, in which aides perform patient care in patients’ homes, allowing them to maintain as much independence as possible. Home health aides can work for individuals and their families or can work for home health agencies that send them to patients’ homes as needed. For accredited programs that train home health aides, go to CDPH.
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