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Las Vegas Caregiver Guide

February 1, 2021

Caregiving is one of the most important jobs that exists. No matter whether you’re caring for a parent or another relative, or if you’ve chosen to take up caregiving as a vocation, providing care for another person is a powerful experience. 

In Las Vegas, professional caregivers must meet certain requirements before they can step into the job. In contrast, family caregivers must only be willing to lend their hearts and time to their loved ones. No matter your path, this article will help guide you toward the right set of information for your needs.

How do I become a caregiver in Las Vegas?

To become a caregiver in Las Vegas, you must follow the Nevada state requirements set forth for caregiver certification. The requirements for Personal Care Aides (PCAs) and Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) who will be providing caregiving services are different, though they share some similarities. To become (and maintain your status as) a PCA, you must be able to:

 

●       Complete a minimum of 16 hours of topic-specific caregiving training

●       Attend a minimum of 8 hours of ongoing caregiver education (CE) each year

 

To become a CNA caregiver, the requirements are that you:

 

●       Complete a Nevada state approved CNA nursing program through a college or university (must include a minimum of 75 hours of training)

●       Pass a caregiver certification exam

●       Attend a minimum of 12 hours of ongoing caregiver education (CE) each year

 

In Las Vegas, the following institutions have caregiver training and education programs available:

 

●       CQES Center for Quality Eldercare Services

○       8020 W. Sahara Avenue, #235

Las Vegas, NV 89117

cques@cques.org

(702) 489-5822

○       Must be age 18 or older to qualify

○       Must have a high school diploma or GED

○       4 week program available for $1000


●       College of Southern Nevada

○       6275 W. Charleston Boulevard

Las Vegas, NV 89146

(775) 445-3296

○       Must be age 16 or older to qualify

○       Must have good moral character and good physical health

○       Must read and write English at an 8th grade level (free testing is sometimes required)

○       Week-long program available for $1200


●       Comfort Keepers

○       2810 W. Charleston Boulevard, #63

Las Vegas, NV 89102

(702) 425-6932

○       Multiple course options available, including course in personal care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, mobility, nutrition, and more

 

Besides being able to fulfill the necessary requirements and coursework, being a caregiver requires skill, compassion, and important abilities. While your training will prepare you for some of the responsibilities of being a caregiver, it’s up to you to provide the rest! Here are some of the skills, qualities, and characteristics you will need to have in order to succeed as a caregiver:

 

●       Understanding of the patient’s personal rights, independence, and individual disease or personal needs

●       Treatment of/knowledge of what to do in the case of burns, poisoning, heart attack, shock, stroke, and more

●       Working knowledge of body systems, the aging process, and the most common communicable and/or chronic diseases

●       Promotion of independence for the patient

●       Excellent communication skills (including verbal and non-verbal communication)

●       Good organizational abilities

●       Ability to observe closely and carefully

●       Understanding of elder abuse and knowledge of what to do if it happens

●       Medication management abilities

 

Individuals who plan to become caregivers for non-family members will need to undergo the training courses listed above. However, caregivers who are a part of the PCS program (more information below) and providing home care for a loved one will not need to complete these training requirements in order to be eligible. While training is always a plus, it is not an essential requirement for PCS caregivers.

What personality traits make a good caregiver?

Caregiving is a rewarding job for those individuals who are dedicated to the profession and to their patients. Being a good caregiver has many layers of meaning, and many elderly patients will say that the best caregiver is one who has both skill and knowledge as well as a personality and individual characteristics that are well suited to caregiving. 

Here are some of the personality traits and characteristics that the best caregivers have and maintain:

 

●       A positive attitude

●       Empathy

●       Patience

●       Kindness

●       Trustworthiness and dependability

●       Compassion

●       Attentiveness

●       Confidence

●       Supportive and encouraging toward patient

●       Creative

●       Good self-control

 

Caregiving is a job with a lot of responsibility, both in terms of the physical and emotional well-being of your patient. Additionally, being able to balance your own needs with the needs and desires of your patient is a skill by itself, and having the correct attitude to perform this delicate balance is vital for becoming a compassionate, attentive caregiver. 

Having a personality suited to caregiving will make you more successful, and it will also ensure the longevity of your career as a caregiver and the happiness of your patients!

How do I become a paid caregiver for a family member in Nevada?

Many individuals face a dilemma when an elderly loved one requires home health care. While it’s necessary to care for younger generations, maintain a job, and perform self-care, these people also feel a pull to care for their elderly loved ones too. Often, the best solution is to become a paid caregiver as a part of the Personal Care Services (PCS) program.

 

The PCS program in Nevada is a Medicaid-funded program that permits family members to become paid caregivers for their loved ones. Qualifying patients are permitted to receive home health care from a designated fried or family member. Some of the requirements that the patient (consumer) must meet in order to qualify include the following:

 

●       Must be a full Nevada Medicaid recipient (or be eligible for it and able to apply)

●       Require personal care services and health care in your home (this may be proven with special ADL or IADL examinations performed by a doctor or nurse)

●       Be able to self-direct your care aides OR elect a personal representative to perform this duty on your behalf

●       Must be a resident of Nevada

 

Consumers who are eligible to receive care via the PCS program from a family member or friend may receive anywhere from a few hours of care per day to 24 hour care depending on what the assessments reveal. Caregivers are hand-picked by the consumers and will be paid for the time that they contribute to caring for their loved one. The cost of payment for the caregiver is completely covered by Medicaid.

 

Individuals who wish to provide care for their loved ones as a part of the PCS program should be aware that they also must meet certain requirements. The requirements for caregivers on this program are below:

 

●       The caregiver may not be the spouse of the consumer, and a parent may only be the caregiver for their child in the case that the child is over 21 years of age and has specifically chosen their parent to be their caregiver

●       Consent to receive payment only for the hours covered by Medicaid (even if you provide 24 hour care for your loved one, if you are only covered for a few hours per day, this is all you will be paid for)

●       Must be a resident of Nevada

 

Caregivers who are providing care for loved ones in the PCS program do not need to attend any formal training or receive any certifications in order to perform their duties. They are authorized to provide the same type and level of care as a registered nurse. Though caregivers are not required to receive training, additional education is always recommended.

 

If you already have Medicaid, below are the steps involved with signing up for the Nevada PCS program:

 

  1. Request and receive an assessment.

    The first step toward enrolling in the PCS program is to request an assessment of your ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living). This assessment will involve a home visit from a nurse, who will assess your ability to perform activities such as bathing, dressing, moving in your home, cleaning, food preparation, laundry, shopping, and more.

    The purpose of the assessment is to provide an accurate view of the type and amount of care you will need to receive. The assessment will be a determinant as to how many hours of paid care you are eligible to receive (hours worked by the chosen caregiver beyond this amount will not be covered by Medicaid).


  2. Hire a fiscal intermediary.

    A fiscal intermediary will be responsible for administering the payments from Medicaid to your chosen caregiver. They act as a go-between for you, your caregiver, and Medicaid. FreedomCare is one of the most reputable and widely used fiscal intermediaries in Nevada and is available statewide to all qualifying individuals.


  3. Choose a caregiver.


Next, you will get to legally select an individual to become your caregiver. This may be a sibling, adult-child, close friend, or another relative who is willing to step up to provide care and support. Your chosen caregiver will need to complete some paperwork and provide some documentation at this stage of the process.


  1. Finish your enrollment.

    Now, you can finally enroll in the PCS program! When you choose FreedomCare as your fiscal intermediary, we will come directly to your home to help you complete the final steps of enrollment. After enrollment, your caregiver will be compensated for time spent providing care, and you will be able to receive safe, secure, comfortable home care from a loved one.

What is the average pay for caregivers in Las Vegas?

The pay for caregiving in Las Vegas is variable. A caregiving job tends to pay more than some other jobs, because it is a skilled profession, however it is not what is considered a “high-paying” job by most people’s standards. In Las Vegas, most caregivers make between $12-$20/hour on average, although this amount may be slightly more or less depending on a variety of factors.

 

For example, an individual with more training and experience in caregiving is more likely to be able to receive a higher hourly pay than a new caregiver who has just completed their training. A CNA caregiver will be more eligible to receive higher payment than a PCA, but this is not always true since payment can be higher or lower depending on factors other than education.

Will Medicare pay for a family member to be a caregiver?

Medicare does not offer the option for a family member to become a paid caregiver for a loved one. While Medicare does cover the costs of certain home health services up to a certain point (dependent on the situation), it is almost always a requirement that the family hire a caregiver from an agency. Generally speaking, families whose elderly loved ones are on Medicare will be required to cover the costs of home health care out-of-pocket, except in particular situations.

 

If your elderly loved one is currently on Medicare, but you’d like the option to join the Nevada PCS program, you may consider dual eligibility (being eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid). If your loved one meets the following requirements, they may be able to apply for and receive Medicaid coverage, which would thus permit them (and you) to participate in the PCS program:

 

●       Be a US citizen or legal resident

●       Be a member of one of the following groups:

○       Elderly individuals (over age 65)

○       Women under age 65 who are underinsured or uninsured and who required treatment for cervical cancer or breast cancer

○       Disabled, blind, and working disabled individuals

○       Pregnant women and newborns

○       Children under age 19

○       Adults ages 18-26 who used to be in the foster care system

●       Be able to provide the following documentation/proof:

○       Proof of legal American citizenship or residency

○       Proof of Nevada residency

○       Social Security Number

○       Proof of income and assets

○       Proof of age

○       Proof of disability (when applicable)

○       Other supporting documents or additional relevant information

 

You may apply for Medicaid in person at a designated sign up center, over the phone, through the mail, or online. The applications are usually processed after about 1 month and retain their validity for 1 year. After your loved one receives Medicaid, you may then apply to participate in the PCS program.