Nursing assistants work in different health care settings. Acute care settings, or hospitals, provide care to patients on a short-term basis. Acute care settings are for patients who become ill suddenly or have a condition that requires only short-term health care, such as having a baby. Patients who receive care in the hospital and go home the same day receive outpatient care. Patients who receive care and need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer receive inpatient care. Nursing assistants who work in acute-care settings often deal with serious illnesses and stressful situations. They provide emotional support to patients and their families.
Sub-acute care settings can be special sections of a hospital or a separate facility, such as a long-term care hospital. Sub-acute care settings provide care for patients who need continuous care for longer hospital stays, usually up to thirty days. Patients might need physical therapy, drug therapy, or wound care. Nursing assistants who work in sub-acute care settings help patients recover from serious illnesses and injuries. They play an important role in helping their patients’ health improve enough to be able to return home or move to a nursing home for long-term care.
Long-term care settings include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Long-term care settings provide residents with the care they need for several months or years. Nursing homes provide high levels of care for residents who require help with daily living. Residents may be elderly, or they may have a condition that prevents them from living independently. Assisted living residents require less care than nursing home residents. Nursing assistants help assisted living residents with their daily living needs, such as reminders about medications.
Nursing assistants who work in clients’ homes are often called home health aides. Home health aides help clients with their health care needs, along with housekeeping duties like laundry and cooking. Home health aides must be able to work independently and adapt to their clients’ changing needs and requests.