Health Care Assistant for ESL Learners

As a Health Care Assistant, you provide support to elderly individuals and help them maintain a level of independence while easing their pain and improving their quality of life.

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    Delivery Method

    Delivery Method: In-Class

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    Duration: 42 weeks, including 8-week practicum

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    Starts: Three starts per year (November, February and May)

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    Credential: Certificate

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    Wages: Up to $23.05/hour

As a Health Care Assistant, you provide support to elderly individuals and help them maintain a level of independence while easing their pain and improving their quality of life. Graduates are prepared to work in Extended and Intermediate Care Facilities, Home Support Agencies, Adult Day Care, and Assisted Living residences. While the majority of program graduates provide care for seniors, our program prepares you to care for adults with a wide variety of chronic health conditions.

Stenberg’s Health Care Assistant – ESL Program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively as front-line care-givers, and respected members of the healthcare team, in both community and facility settings. Students complete 3 months of English language studies (ELS100) prior to beginning the provincial Health Care Assistant (HCA) Program. Students then take English language studies (ELS200) on an ongoing basis throughout the program to continue improving their speaking and listening skills.

The Health Care Assistant Program delivered by Stenberg College has been granted a full, five-year recognition status by the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.

Graduates of the Health Care Assistant Program delivered by Stenberg College are eligible for registration with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry.

The BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry reviews and recognizes Health Care Assistant (HCA) programs in BC to ensure that they are: following the provincial curriculum, implementing a common set of training standards and graduating competent front-line health care providers. Confirming that HCAs meet registration requirements is integral to the Registry’s mandate of patient protection and improved standards of care.

Stenberg College is also accredited by the BC government’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB).

100% of our graduates from the Health Care Assistant Program are employed in their field of study within 6 months of graduation.

As a Health Care Assistant, you’ll find opportunities for employment in health authorities, such as hospitals and community agencies, assisted living facilities, home support agencies, adult care centres, and private homes. You may also choose to be self-employed, working independently as a personal care attendant.

Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the wage range of Health Care Assistants is from $14.00 – $23.05 per hour depending on experience and location.

The related national occupation classification number for Health Care Assistants is 3413.

  • Grade 10 graduation or 19 years of age or older
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview
  • Passing English Language Competency Requirements

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a physician

Please note: A valid driver’s license and access to personal transport is recommended for HCA190: Home Support / Assisted Living Practicum. Students who are not able to provide their own transport may have difficulty meeting the requirements of this component.

NB: Additional criteria may be required to fulfill industry guidelines; students will be informed in advance of any requirements that need to be fulfilled for placements.

Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description:

English Language Skills I

This combined delivery course will focus on practicing the four major skills of English (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) with emphasis on grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary development. You will complete both in class and online lessons as you prepare for formal testing, prior to starting your HCA courses.

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English Language Skills II

This course is designed to build off ELS100 English Language Skills I and support the further development of English skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). In addition, this course will focus on strengthening students’ oral English Skills including pronunciation and speaking.

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Orientation and Student Success Skills

This course will provide a comprehensive orientation to Stenberg College and the program you have enrolled in. As with all new things, there will be some challenges to overcome; however, with this course, you will become familiar with your new environment and the resources available for your use. You will gain effective learning and study strategies; become familiar with course and research online resources; enhance reading and writing skills; participate in activities to increase self-awareness, communication, and accountability; and develop teamwork skills. You will also be introduced to basic computer fundamentals, gaining skill in working in the Windows environment, Internet research and keyboarding.

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Health and Healing: Concepts for Practice

This course provides students with the opportunity to develop a theoretical framework for practice. Students will be introduced to the philosophical values and theoretical understandings that provide a foundation for competent practice as a HCA. The course focuses on concepts of caring and person-centered care; basic human needs and human development; family, culture and diversity as they relate to health and healing. Students will also be introduced to a problem-solving model that will be critical to their practice.

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Clinical Prerequisite Certifications

In order to be placed in an agency or facility for the required program practice experiences, students must have successfully completed Standard First Aid, CPR Level C and FoodSafe Level 1. Students in the Stenberg Program also take WHMIS and Provincial Violence Prevention Certificate to ensure that they have the advantage of additional external certifications valued by today’s employers.

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Health Care Assistant: Introduction to Practice

This course provides an introduction to the role of the HCA within the British Columbia health care system. Students will be introduced to the healthcare team and the roles and functions of HCA within the team. Students will also have opportunities to develop self-reflective skills required for competent practice.

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Health 1: Interpersonal Communications

This course focuses on the development of self-awareness, increased understanding of others and development of effective interpersonal communication skills that can be used in a variety of caregiving contexts. Students will be encouraged to become more aware of the impact of their own communication choices and patterns. They will have opportunity to develop and use communication techniques that demonstrate personal awareness, respect and active listening skills.

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Health 2: Lifestyle and Choices

This course introduces students to a holistic concept of health and the components of a health enhancing lifestyle. Students will be invited to reflect on their own experience of health, recognizing challenges and resources that can impact lifestyle choices. Students will be introduced to a model that can be applied in other courses to understand the multi-faceted aspects of health and healing.

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Healing 1: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Common Health Challenges

This course introduces students to the normal structure and function of the human body and normal bodily changes associated with aging. Students will explore common challenges to health and healing in relation to each body system. Students will also be encouraged to explore person-centered practice as it relates to the common challenges to health and, in particular, to end-of-life care.

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Healing 2: Caring for Individuals Experiencing Cognitive or Mental Challenges

This course builds on content from other courses to assist students to explore concepts and care-giving approaches that will allow them to work effectively with individuals experiencing cognitive or mental challenges. The emphasis in this course is on supporting clients with dementia, recognizing responsive behaviors and identifying person-centered intervention strategies.

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Healing 3: Personal Care and Assistance

This practical course offers students the opportunity to acquire personal care and assistance skills within the parameters of the HCA role. The course is comprised of class and supervised laboratory experiences which assist the student to integrate theory from other courses to develop caregiver skills that maintain and promote the comfort, safety and independence of individuals in community and facility contexts. A simulation lab in acute care provides the student with a functioning and safe environment in which to practice caring for clients in various acute care settings while a final simulated lab provides students with a safe environment to sharpen their skills prior to their clinical placements. This course also includes the Medication Management for HCA’s Certificate.

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Practice Experience in Multi-Level and/or Complex Care

This supervised clinical placement provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from all other courses in the program with individuals in a multi-level or complex care setting. A portion of this clinical experience will be devoted to working with individuals experiencing cognitive challenges. Opportunity will be provided for students to gain expertise and confidence with the role of the HCA within a continuing care facility. This placement begins concurrently with other coursework, allowing students the opportunity to apply knowledge/skills which they are learning in other courses with immediacy. In this way, observations and experiences from the work environment can be brought into the class or lab in ways that assist students to more readily see the application of their new learning. After students have completed their core theoretical coursework, their clinical experience is consolidated with a 3-week block practice experience. In this way, students immerse themselves in the work world without the demands of other course requirements. This block practice experience supports students with the transition from the student to the HCA role.

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Multi-Level/ Complex Preceptorship

This preceptorship will facilitate your transition from HCA student to HCA graduate. A designated preceptor will act as your mentor and guide encouraging you to apply insight, critical thinking skills, and self-awareness within the work setting. Support will be made readily available to both the student and the preceptor throughout this experience by a Stenberg College HCA faculty member.

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Career Search Strategies

This course is offered in a combined online and classroom delivery format. Students learn to network effectively (online and in person), to search and apply for jobs and to prepare targeted resumes and cover letters. Students will be introduced to effective job-finding approaches and are also provided with coaching and individualized instructor feedback on their resume, cover letter, and interview skills.

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Practicum Prep

Students prepare for their clinical experiences, discussing learning objectives, outcomes, and the knowledge/skills needed. Students identify ways to ensure that they will be successful in the practicum environment.
Practice Experience in Home Support and/or Assisted Living.

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This practice course provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from all other courses with individuals and families in a community setting. Prior to students going out on practicum they will participate in a home support/assisted living simulated lab. Opportunity will be provided for students to become more familiar with the role of the HCA within a Home Support Agency and gain abilities that will prepare graduates to assume the role of a Community Health Worker. Students will work closely with a home support preceptor who will act as your mentor and guide encouraging you to apply insight, critical thinking skills and self-awareness in the reality of a work setting. At the conclusion of this experience, students will return to the College for a final debriefing.

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Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

WHMIS provides information about materials in the workplace that can be hazardous, such as cleaning agents, compressed gases and flammable materials. Becoming WHMIS certified will demonstrate the ability to identify hazardous materials and handle them properly.

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Standard First Aid CPR Level HCP

You’ll receive Red Cross Standard First Aid Certification including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Health Care Provider (HCP), and Automated External Defibrillation (AED). This industry standard certification is valid for three years.

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You’ll learn how to prepare food in a way that protects people from injury or illness. Some of the topics covered are food-borne diseases, personal hygiene, and safe procedures for storing.

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Provincial Violence Prevention Certification

The Provincial Violence Prevention Training Curriculum will teach you to recognize and respond to violent situations and learn about different types of violence and strategies for dealing with the risks in a variety of health care contexts. The Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum has been developed by a team of experts from Worksafe BC, the Occupational Health & Safety Agency for healthcare in BC, as well as BC health authorities and healthcare unions. This training and certification is offered in collaboration with Fraser Health Authority.

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Medication Management for HCA’s

This course provides students with a strong base knowledge in medication management techniques, assisting clients with medication and documentation. Building on their existing knowledge of key medication terminology, medication safety and drug classifications, students will conduct a more detailed examination of the pathophysiology of common conditions. The final component of this certification course will be an assessment of skills in medication assisting in the community and home support settings. Upon completion, students will have a strong foundation in which to further build their skillset out in the workplace.

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Body Mechanics & Back Safety

You will be educated in proper body movement to prevent and correct poor posture, reduce stress on ligaments, joints and tendons and enhance physical capabilities. Proper body mechanics and back safety will enhance the longevity and success in the workplace and will help ensure that transfers and positioning are done in a manner that is safe and appropriate for everyone. Please note: While this training follows best practices, graduates may also be required to learn and follow workplace specific protocols.

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Gentle Persuasive Approaches for Assisting Clients with Dementia

This one-day course is designed for interdisciplinary front-line staff who work directly with clients with dementia. Taking a person-centered approach, this course teaches students to fully understand responsive behaviours and how to identify triggers in order to be able to respond effectively and appropriately in a workplace setting. Students will learn personal de-escalation techniques, respectful self-protection and gentle redirection techniques for when responsive behaviours do occur.

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Personal & Professional Development Skills Certificate

Responding carefully to the needs of today’s employers, a series of Personal and Professional Development Workshops have been integrated throughout the program to develop critical thinking and soft skills. Workshops include Giving and Receiving Feedback, Conflict Resolutions, Active Listening, Providing Quality Service and Building Rapport, Leadership, and Employability Skills.

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Fit Testing

This theory course will cover the correct use and care of respirators, respirator limitations, donning and doffing procedures, and proper disposal of respirators in accordance with WorkSafeBC OHS Regulation Section 8.7.3.

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You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; Stenberg’s Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.