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LeadingAge NY Proposes Recommendations for Virtual Training of HHAs and PCAs

On July 28th, LeadingAge NY, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA), and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) jointly presented the Department of Health (DOH) with recommendations to institute virtual training programs for home health aides (HHAs) and personal care aides (PCAs). The proposal allows for HHA and PCA initial training to be accomplished through a hybrid approach of virtual instruction supplemented with in-person instruction with appropriate verification and in-person evaluation of skills.

LeadingAge NY and association colleagues are urging the Department’s adoption of this proposal, both now during the COVID-19 pandemic and permanently once the pandemic resolves, to alleviate long-standing recruitment and retention challenges experienced by the industry and those that have more acutely manifested as a result of the pandemic.

The recommendations address the following program considerations:

  • Online technology and methods;
  • Access to equipment needed for training/experience and capacity of students to access technology;
  • Ability to interact with instructors, ask questions, and obtain feedback;
  • Number of students per class;
  • Skill training, method, and site for instruction;
  • Instructor willingness;
  • Instructional materials and textbooks;
  • Languages for instruction;
  • Testing and competencies;
  • Evaluation of program; and
  • Process for approval.

We are urging the Department to consider these recommendations and issue guidance to modify training programs so that home care agencies can resume the important work of training and onboarding new staff. The transition to incorporate virtual learning in HHA and PCA training programs will increase accessibility to potential trainees by meeting students where they are, keep aides and instructors safe during the pandemic, and modernize and update training methods and modalities to help alleviate the significant workforce shortage challenges that exist in this field.

Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org, 518-929-9342