What’s the Difference Between a Home Health Aide and a Home Nurse?

What’s the Difference Between a Home Health Aide and a Home Nurse?

If you’re compassionate, responsible, and enjoy caring for others, chances are you’ve considered a career in the home healthcare industry. Home health care services employ multiple kinds of caregivers, whose abilities range from assisting with everyday tasks to performing skilled nursing duties. With position titles like home health aide (HHA), personal care aide (PCA), certified nursing assistant (CNA), and registered nurse (RN), determining the job duties and formal education required for each position can be challenging.

The home health aide and home nurse positions may sound similar, but the roles differ significantly. Sometimes a client will have a home health aide and home nurse, depending on their needs. Keep reading to see a side-by-side comparison of the similarities and differences between these jobs and how to determine which career path is the right choice for you.

What Are Home Health Aides?

Home health aides are hired to help seniors and other individuals who require assistance with everyday tasks. They usually complete basic household duties and assist with the necessities of daily living. Additionally, they will provide personal care, such as bathing and dressing. Home health aides also serve as a source of companionship for the client and provide them with the support they need to preserve their independence. Still now there is still more to know on the difference between a home health aide and a home nurse.


State requirements for home health aides vary, but most caregivers typically have a high school diploma or GED. To be a certified home health aide in New York, students must take a 76-hour training program and one day of hands-on training in a clinical setting. 

This formal training prepares aides to provide in-home care to clients. Home health aides have more medical training than personal care aides but not as much as nursing assistants. Since the formal education required to be a home health aide is minimal compared to other jobs, this job is a great way to test out your aptitude for the field before committing to a career path that requires extensive education.


One of the other differences between a home health aide and a home nurse are duties. When you work as a home health care aide, you will offer your client basic care in their own home. Your responsibilities could include the following:

  • Completing household tasks
  • Meal preparation
  • Assisting with personal hygiene and toileting
  • Providing medication reminders to clients
  • Communicating with the client’s care team
  • Giving the primary caregiver time to recharge
  • Help the client complete physical therapy exercises

Unlike a licensed practical nurse, home health care aides cannot provide medical care. However, they can administer medications and check vital signs if a registered nurse monitors them. 

Employment Prospects

Many individuals with a home health aide certification perform senior care in the client’s home. Since most seniors prefer to remain in their own homes and the annual costs at an assisted living facility are enormous compared to home health services, hiring a health aide or personal care aide is an excellent alternative. Care and home health workers can work as many or as few hours as their schedule allows, making this an excellent job for individuals who need a flexible schedule. 

Although some private insurance plans do not cover the cost of a home health aide, private pay is also an option, which means that even if an insurance company doesn’t deem home care necessary, clients can still receive the care they need. If you’re trying to decide whether the home health industry is right for you, working as an HHA can permit you to try out the field without committing to extensive schooling. Should you decide you love the industry, there is plenty of room for career growth. 

What Are Home Nurses?

Home health nurses are trained medical professionals who provide medical services to one or multiple patients in the patient’s own home. The home health care offered by a certified nursing assistant is focused less on the patient’s everyday needs, such as bathing or household chores, and more on their medical needs. 


Home health nurses have the education required to administer medical care to clients. Depending on the level of education a caregiver pursues, they could be a nursing assistant or registered nurse. However, regardless of their schooling, medical professionals must complete a competency exam proving they can perform the appropriate level of medical tasks for their position. 


CNA duties in a home health care setting primarily involve supplying medical assistance to the client. For example, a nursing assistant may administer medications, check vital signs, change bandages, and complete other mid-level nursing tasks. 

Since RNs are required to perform more complex tasks, it’s common for a client to have both an RN and a CNA providing home care. While home health nurses may perform tasks such as bathing a client, it isn’t their primary focus, and they often leave it to home health aides. 

Employment Prospects

Since home health nurses are registered nurses, nursing assistants, or CNAs, they are not limited to working in a patient’s home. Licensed nurses are also employed in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. In addition, they may also work as educators in community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools. 

There is no shortage of work, with options ranging from working in a skilled nursing facility to a nursing home. Licensed medical professionals have numerous care and home health career possibilities, giving them endless options for career advancement.

Consider a Career in Home Health Care Services

Working in home health care services is more than a career; it’s a calling. After what we shared we hope we helped answer What’s the Difference Between a Home Health Aide and a Home Nurse? When you choose to work in this field, you help families find peace by caring for their loved ones and allow your clients to preserve their dignity and stay in their homes. No matter which position you pursue, at the end of the day, you’ll know you made a positive impact in your client’s life. 

Stop wondering if being a home health aide or home nurse is right for you. Reach out to our team, and let us offer you the insight we’ve gained from our extensive experience in the industry. Give Parent Care a call at 718-486-7100 to learn more today.

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