continuing care assistant program

What is the Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) Program?

Overview

The Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) Program is a course that provides you with a rewarding career, and gives you the chance to work with people in a one-on-one situation.

In September 2000, the Continuing Care Assistant Program officially replaced the HSW, the PCW and HHP training programs. Although configured differently, the program combines all materials and skills taught in the previous courses.

The CCA Program is offered through participating Nova Scotia Community Colleges, private career colleges, licensed nursing homes/homes for the aged, home support agencies and Nova Scotia Work Activity Programs.  Click here for a list of CCA Education Providers .

As of April 2006 CCA Certification is an entry-to-practice requirement to work in this role of direct care and support services provider in nursing homes/homes for the aged and/or home support agencies providing services to Department of Health clients.  In addition graduates from the CCA Program work in a number of other continuing care organizations and hospitals throughout the province.

The Continuing Care Industry

Continuing Care plays a major role in Nova Scotia's health care system. Continuing Care is a branch of the Nova Scotia Department of Health which provides for home care, long term care and adult protection services. Continuing Care Assistants fit in the Continuing Care components of home care and long term care.

Continuing Care recognizes that Nova Scotia citizens need care and support in their home and/or community. Nova Scotians contact Continuing Care, because they:

  • Wants to maximize their independence in his/her home and community.
  • Wants to access long term care services.
  • Wants to access adult protection services for self or another.
  • Wants information about other community resources.

Again services provided by Continuing Care include home care, long term care and adult protection. Home care services include home support, personal care, nursing, home oxygen, and respite. Long term care includes facilities, such as nursing homes/homes for the aged, small option homes, community residences, and residential care facilities. Adult protection services are provided to persons 16 years of age and over, who lack the physical or mental ability to adequately care for themselves and who are in need of protection against abuse or neglect.

On April 1, 2006 the Department of Health's hiring policies for direct care and support service workers changed to a CCA Education Entry-to-Practice Policy. All persons hired in this role for the first time in either nursing homes/homes for the aged or home support agencies serving Department of Health clients must have CCA Certification. However, previously employed direct care and support services workers including HSWs, PCWs or HHPs may continue to be employed in their field. Click here to view the current policy dated September 2007.

History of the Continuing Care Assistant Program

In July 1999, the amalgamation of three health care courses was announced by the Nova Scotia Department of Health. The combination consisted of the Personal Care Workers course, the Home Support Workers course and the Home Health Care Workers course. The result was the creation of the Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) program. When CCA students graduate, they are eligible to work with home support agencies or in nursing homes/homes for the aged environment. CCAs also have opportunities for employment in other continuing care organizations and hospital settings.

Why was the decision made to amalgamate the three existing programs? Over several years numerous education programs for specialized workers in the long term care and home support areas were introduced. While there were many similarities among the program's curricula, students were graduating with different titles and skill sets. Employers were not always aware of the competencies associated with these various programs. Graduates were often restricted to employment in one section of the broad continuing care field. As Nova Scotia moves toward a more fully integrated health system, greater consistency among the education programs was required. The new program offers the graduates more employment options while providing the client with reassurance that they are being assisted by a qualified individual that has met provincially-established standards.

Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) Course Structure

You will learn about :

Ø       The Health sector

Ø       Personal and professional development

Ø       Communication and documentation

Ø       Environmental safety, personal health and well being

Ø       Body mechanics

Ø       Household management

Ø       Growth and development

Ø       Body structure, functions and health related issues 

Ø       Personal care

Ø       Nutrition and meal preparation

Ø       Mental Health and social issues 

Ø       Medication Awareness 

You will gain on the job experiences through three clinical placements:

Skills Development Placement is 110 hours (approximately 15 days) in a Department of Health licensed nursing home/home for aged. This placement is meant to introduce the student to a real work environment to develop their skills by providing hands on experience under the direct supervision[1] of an RN or LPN.

Mentorship consists of three placements; two in a home support agency providing services to Department of Health clients and one in a Department of Health licensed nursing home/home for the aged facility. During the mentorships the student is under the direction of the assigned mentor and the indirect supervision[2] of the education provider’s LPN/RN supervisor.

Home Support 1: 50 hours (approximately 10 days). The goal of this placement includes skills development and gives the student an opportunity to work with a mentor in the development of those skills unique to home support. The student must be under the direction of their assigned mentor and indirect supervision from the education provider’s RN/LPN supervisor.

Nursing Homes/Homes for the Aged: 120 hours (approximately 15 days). This placement is the culmination of the learning that occurs in the classroom, lab and placements. It allows the student to apply theory and skills in the workplace as they work in partnership with a mentor. The student must be under the direction of their assigned mentor and indirect supervision from the education provider’s RN/LPN supervisor.

Home Support II: 50 hours (approximately 10 days). This placement is the culmination of the learning that occurs in the classroom, lab and placements. It allows the student to apply theory and skills in the workplace as they work in partnership with a mentor. The student must be under the direction of their assigned mentor and indirect supervision from the education provider’s RN/LPN supervisor.

The primary instructor maintains regular contact with the placement agencies/facilities, either in person or by telephone, throughout the duration of the program. The primary instructor is available to the student throughout the complete duration of the program. The primary instructor will make frequent checks on the students throughout the placements, including placement III, and will ensure that the placement hours are being tracked.


Additional Certificates/Workshops Include:  

  • Nova Scotia Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementia Care Course
  • WHMIS Awareness (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System)
  • Introduction to OH&S Act
  • Food Handler's Course -- Department of Agriculture or Basic food safety from the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism
  • First Aid/CPR Level C from either St. Johns Ambulance or Red Cross
  • Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s Palliative Care Front-line Education (September 2007)

There are at a minimum of:

  • 510 hours of class and lab time
  • 100 hours of home support field placement
  • 230 hours in a long term care field placement

NOTE: All course hours are direct service and class hours. These hours do not include lunch, coffee breaks or travel time.

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