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IHSS Essentials

Learn infection control, medication safety,
mandated documentation, self-care, and more.

Format: Real-time learning led by instructors

Length: 12 courses / 12 weeks / 30 hours / 2.5 hours each course

Languages offered: English, Spanish, Armenian, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese

Eligibility: Must be IHSS provider in California

Offered through Career Pathways Program


Offered as a multi-week program in Los Angeles County (L.A. Care) and San Bernardino County


Here’s what you will learn:

Course 1: Provider & Consumer Communication

Participants will learn about person-centered care and practice effective communication skills, including how to effectively discuss a problem with a consumer. This course also introduces Motivational Interviewing, which is a set of tools and techniques to help people overcome barriers, make changes and achieve their goals.

Course 2: Personal & Home Safety

This course focuses on safety in the home for consumers and for caregivers. Caregivers are at high risk of workplace musculoskeletal injuries because of the ongoing physical support they give to the consumer, so you will learn and practice good body mechanics to avoid injury. Certain consumers are at increased risk of falls, so fall prevention strategies will be introduced.

Course 3: Standard Precautions

This course introduces providers to key standard precaution measures and provides opportunities for practice, where possible. Participants will learn why standard precautions are important and discuss how to implement these practices in their consumer’s care to avoid transmission of communicable diseases.

Course 4: Infection Control

This course introduces providers to infection control and provides opportunities for practice, where possible. Participants will discuss how to provide care and comfort to those who have diseases, and how to avoid transmission of communicable diseases. In addition, the procedures involved in the avoidance of pressure sores will be addressed. The provider’s role, as a member of the consumer’s care team, in assisting the consumer to recognize the dangers of a pressure sore, seek out appropriate care, and monitor the condition of a sore that is under treatment, is emphasized in this course.

Course 5: Medication Safety

This course provides content on how to support ASD in the different age groups. You will learn how to identify and address at risk behaviors and practice how to handle situations regarding social skills, aggression, and elopement in different age groups.

Course 6: Blood-Borne Pathogens

This course is intended to help you prepare to address the health concerns inherent in caring for others and the possible damage the microscopic world can inflict. Unlike traditional academic curricula, you will learn actionable ways to practice and prepare for the bacteria and pathogens you may encounter in your career. If you become exposed to blood borne pathogens, you will have the knowledge to reduce the chances of disease transmission and to protect others, including co-workers and patients, from possible infection.

Course 7: Assisting with Personal Hygiene

In this course, participants will review how to assist consumers with maintaining personal hygiene, such as oral and denture care, bathing, dressing, and using the toilet. They will explore special considerations for assisting a consumer with these tasks and learn how to effectively address situations in which consumers refuse to engage in a personal hygiene activity.

Course 8: Nutrition and Physical Activity

In this course, you will learn the basics of nutrition, healthy and modified diets, as well as the importance of physical activity in a consumer’s daily routine. Caregivers will learn about assistive devices that can help a consumer to eat. They will also be introduced to chronic conditions linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

Course 9: Food Safety

This course explores the vital role caregivers have in ensuring that they prepare food that is safe to eat. It covers the range of factors that must be considered when preparing food for individuals and the causes and effects of food poisoning. Types of food poisonings, as well as signs and symptoms of food poisoning are also introduced.

Course 10: Mandated Reporting and Documentation

This course introduces the roles and responsibilities of home caregivers, particularly as a mandated reporter in cases of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation. The enhanced roles of the caregivers in the consumer’s care team are emphasized, as are the accompanying skills of observing, monitoring, documenting, and reporting.

Course 11: Self Care

In this course, participants will learn about self-care and the importance of engaging in self-care on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance their short- and longer term health and well-being. We will also discuss strategies for recognizing burnout and reducing caregiver stress.

Course 12: Case-Based Scenarios and Skills Practice

In this course, we put everything you learned into practice through case scenarios. You will share core components of the previous eleven courses,  practice implementing the information learned, and reflect on how you would incorporate teachings into the care you provide to consumers.

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