Assisted living provides a supportive, homelike environment for adults who need assistance with daily tasks but do not require the full care of a nursing home. Assisted living programs offer several levels of care from basic assistance with bathing and dressing to help with taking medication and maintaining mobility. With this broad range of services, the best way to get assisted living training is to focus on positions such as certified nursing assistant, certified medication aide, and resident caregiver, with possible later moves into administration.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work closely with staff registered nurses to oversee the care of those with medical conditions. For this type of assisted living training, students should look for programs that require several months of instruction designed to help them prepare for certification and a first job. The best CNA programs train students to feed, bathe, and dress residents; take vital signs for those who are ill or need monitoring; maintain a resident’s living area by making beds; manage medical equipment for residents who use them, such as oxygen machines or diabetes testing kits; and monitor the daily activities of residents with chronic medical conditions.
Assisted living training for those who want to be certified medication aides involves classroom and clinical instruction. While local requirements vary, the best training for medication aides includes up to 100 hours of course work focused on pharmacological terminology and how medications affect the human body. Students should look for programs taught by registered nurses and those that prepare medication aides for a certification examination.
In some assisted living settings, employers require medication aides to also have nursing assistant training. While a minority of employers does not require certification for medical assistants, others do. Thus, assisted living training for medication assistants can be broad and lead an employee into CNA training and better job prospects.
Another level of assisted living training prepares workers to be resident caregivers. Most training for these positions takes place on the job, although some employers seek employees with CNA training to fill resident caregiver roles. These positions also are called case associates and resident care associates. The best on-the-job training includes direction in how to serve meals to residents in their apartments or in dining rooms, recording and reporting changes in eating habits, and basic grooming.
In addition to formal or on-the-job instruction for specific positions, assisted living training can include continuing education. The best ongoing training courses cover topics such as first aid, resuscitation techniques, and personal care. For those with a nursing or administrative background who wish to become administrators, assisted living administrator training is available and requires completion of workshops and seminars. Local public health boards set the guidelines for the best assisted living administrator training.