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New Jersey Home Health Aides May Be Allowed to Perform More Care Tasks

March 18, 2015

The New Jersey Board of Nursing has proposed a rule change that would allow nurses to delegate a wide range of care tasks to home health aides.

Under the new rule, nurses would be allowed to train aides to perform virtually any task, so long as they fall within nurses’ scope of practice, do not put the consumer’s life in danger, and do not require “judgment based on nursing knowledge.”

Nurses would be responsible for ensuring that the aide can competently execute the tasks, and to document each task that has been passed on to the aide.

Aides cannot be trained to perform tasks involving the “physical, psychological, and social assessment of the patient,” the proposed rule change says.

The rule change would greatly benefit New Jersey’s population of elders and people with disabilities, who generally prefer to receive care in their own homes, said Susan Reinhard, a senior vice president at AARP.

“It would really help people stay at home, where they would prefer to be, and receive really good care from nurses’ aides, who are supervised very carefully and closely by registered professional nurses,” Reinhard was quoted as saying in a March 16 NJ Spotlight article.

The public comment period for the proposed rule change ends April 3. Comments can be submitted electronically on the website of the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs.

If the rule change becomes final, New Jersey would become the 10th state to allow home health aides to perform a large range of care tasks under nurses’ supervision.

— by Matthew Ozga

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