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Home Health Aide vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

Home Health Aide vs Licensed Vocational Nurse

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When it comes to choosing a career in the healthcare field, there are many options to consider. Two popular choices for individuals interested in providing direct patient care are becoming a Home Health Aide (HHA) or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). While both professions involve caring for patients, there are some key differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore what it means to be a Home Health Aide and a Licensed Vocational Nurse and compare the two roles to help you decide which path may be right for you.

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What is a Home Health Aide and Licensed Vocational Nurse?

Home Health Aide (HHA):

A Home Health Aide is a healthcare professional who provides assistance and support to individuals who are chronically ill, disabled, or recovering from an illness or injury. HHAs typically work in patients' homes or residential care facilities, helping with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. They may also provide companionship and emotional support to their clients.

Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN):

A Licensed Vocational Nurse, also known as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in some states, is a healthcare professional who provides basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. LVNs work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies. They are responsible for monitoring patients' vital signs, administering medications, dressing wounds, and assisting with activities of daily living.

Difference between a Home Health Aide and Licensed Vocational Nurse

While both Home Health Aides and Licensed Vocational Nurses play important roles in patient care, there are several key differences between the two professions:

Scope of Practice:

  • Home Health Aides primarily assist with activities of daily living and provide emotional support to their clients. They do not administer medications or perform any medical procedures.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses have a broader scope of practice and are able to administer medications, perform basic medical procedures, and provide more advanced nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians.

Supervision:

  • Home Health Aides typically work under the supervision of a registered nurse or other healthcare professional. They receive instructions on the specific care tasks to be performed but have less autonomy in decision-making.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses work under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. They have more autonomy and may be responsible for overseeing the care provided by other healthcare professionals, such as nursing assistants or home health aides.

Education and Training:

  • Home Health Aides typically complete a short training program, which can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on state requirements. This training covers topics such as personal care techniques, infection control, and basic first aid.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses must complete a state-approved vocational nursing program, which typically takes about one year to complete. These programs include coursework in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing skills, as well as supervised clinical experience.

Home Health Aide vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Job Description

Home Health Aide:

  • Assisting with personal care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
  • Providing companionship and emotional support to clients
  • Preparing meals and assisting with feeding
  • Performing light housekeeping tasks
  • Assisting clients with mobility and transfers
  • Monitoring and reporting changes in clients' health or behavior to healthcare professionals

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

  • Administering medications and treatments as prescribed by healthcare professionals
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs and documenting changes
  • Assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting
  • Performing wound care and dressing changes
  • Providing emotional support and education to patients and their families
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to develop and implement care plans

Home Health Aide vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Education and Training

Home Health Aide:

  • Completion of a state-approved training program
  • Training typically includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience
  • Some states may require certification or licensure, while others may only require completion of the training program

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

  • Completion of a state-approved vocational nursing program
  • Programs typically include both classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience
  • Successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) is required to obtain licensure

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Home Health Aide vs Licensed Vocational Nurse: Career Outlook and Salary

Home Health Aide:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of Home Health Aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is primarily due to an aging population that requires long-term care.
  • The median annual wage for Home Health Aides was $27,080 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Licensed Vocational Nurse:

  • The BLS projects that employment of Licensed Practical Nurses will grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is also attributed to the aging population and the increased need for healthcare services.
  • The median annual wage for Licensed Practical Nurses was $48,820 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in the healthcare field is a noble and rewarding path. Whether you decide to become a Home Health Aide or a Licensed Vocational Nurse, both roles offer opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Consider your interests, education, and desired level of responsibility when making your decision. It's also important to research the specific requirements and job opportunities in your state to ensure you are on the right path towards a successful and fulfilling career in healthcare.

Dreambound's educational programs open doors to exciting opportunities. For a more comprehensive understanding of the potential within these two vocations, we invite you to explore further details by visiting:

Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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