6 Tips for CNA’s on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

Assuming that you a girl (well, most CNAs are), and also assuming then you are a mother (well, some CNAs are), then– hey congrats, you can become a good CNA. After all, a CNA’s job is similar to what a mother does for her infant child (feeding, bathing, grooming). However, the difference between a mother and a CNA’s job is the fact that CNAs, besides getting an hourly pay (annual salary is about $20,000 to $37,000), have to care for not children but rather a full grown adult. Here are some tips on how to take care of senior patients.

Caring For An Elderly Patient? Here’s How to Do It:–

1. Ensure That Senior Patients Eat Their Meals, & Make Them Drink Plenty Of Fluids!

cna giving food to old patients 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

Medicine, provided on timely basis, will work magic (boost the recovery) but that’s going to work only if our dear senior patients eat their food like a good boy (or a girl). The problem with many elderly patients is their lack of appetite. As, a CNA you have to coax them into taking one spoonful after another.

The doctor will have you know what kind of diet the patient might require, but in most cases the meal will generally comprise of fluids (broths and drinking water) especially if the patient is in critical stage.

But what if some patients (who have no hope or wish to live) refuse or are unable to eat the food? Well, if the patients refuse to eat with their “mouth”, then you must have them eat with their “nose” (it’s called nasogastric feeding). If its your first job as a CNA, it is frustrating, isn’t it?

2. Make A Mental Note On Which Patients Needs Your Care Badly, & Divide Your Time Accordingly!  

If Youre Not Disciplined And Punctual CNA Career Is Not For You 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

There are families out there who won’t put their aged mother/father at nursing homes. They will rather hire a CNA or a home health aide. In this case, a CNA will only have to look after a single elderly patient. However, CNAs working in hospital and long term care centers naturally have not one but 15 or so patients to look after.

Just imagine a room full of patients, calling you for help–someone is vomiting, someone is coughing terribly, someone needs to drink water, someone needs oxygen tube, and someone just needs to piss. Now, you are not a superman, of course. You can’t look after them all simultaneously; what you need is a plan. Learn about your patient’s ailments, and find out which patient needs your care constantly, and which patient are okay to be checked in 10 minutes gap or so.

3. Chat Merrily & Keep Them Engaged; Don’t Let Them Feel Alone & Useless!

Chat Merrily Keep Them Engaged Don’t Let Them Feel Alone Useless 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

CNAs will from time to time hear patient wailing about feelings of loneliness, what with their family members abandoning them and having no time to visit.

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 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

Hence, you need to lift them from their gloomy mood. You need to talk to your patients, chat with them about this and that thing (like their history or the current political situation of the country…old people care about politics). You have to make them speak and engage them in some activity (chess will be a good idea…a TV will be wonderful) so that they will have something to do, something to live for.

One more thing– elderly patients do also need exercises too, especially the range-of-motion exercises; it’s a necessity. Either have the patient to do light exercises on his/her own, or, if the patient is not in a condition to do so, then administer passive exercises (i.e. you, as the caregiver, have to move the patient’s hands and legs).

4. Look Out For Bedsores And Be Skilled At Transferring The Senior Patients!

Look Out For Bedsores And Be Skilled At Transferring The Senior Patients 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

Comfort is a luxury the senior patients generally lack. Paralysis and other disabilities will limit their motion, and have them bedridden. And, since they are not in any condition to move their body for comfort, the ugly bed sores attack them.

So another task for a CNA is to go round the patients, and re-position them on the bed to keep the bed sores at bay. While you are at this repositioning round, do also re-arrange the pillows of the patients to give them maximum comfort.

Well, that was about repositioning on the bed. But, other than bed, CNAs also have to be physically able to move the patient from bed to the wheelchair (like for going to another medical department for ultrasound or something else…or just letting the patients have some fresh air in the garden).

You nursing schooling and experience at hospitals will have you educated on the skills for transferring patients (like standing with your feet apart, back straight, assisting the patients from his strong side, and taking the weight’s strain with your knees/legs). However, if you think you are not strong enough to transfer the patient from bed to wheelchair, then, call another CNA for help.

5. Learn How To Give Bed-Bath & Change Bed Sheet On An Occupied Bed!

cna changing bedsheet 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

The potty problem will be the most disgusting task for the CNAs. You will be changing the patient’s diapers (keep lots of diapers in store), not to mention changing their soiled bed sheet too. And, since we can assume that most seniors will be bedridden, you will therefore have to use your skills and intellect to change the bed sheets on an occupied bed.

Another responsibility of CNAs is to maintain the hygiene in and around the patients. Bedridden seniors will generally be treated to a bed bath (it will be great if you could rub their body with some lotion).

6. Monitor The Vital Status Of The Elderly Patients & Act Immediately On Emergencies!

cna monitoring a patient 6 Tips for CNAs on How to Take Care of Senior Patients

With the senior patients, there’s no knowing when the life in them flies away. You have to check their pulse rate, respiration rate, urine quantity and such from time to time. Patients with respiration issue will have to be given the oxygen mask, but do check the saturation level with your oximetry from time to time. And, if any abnormalities are seen in the vital status (like difficulty in breathing), then call up a senior nurse immediately.

Originally posted 2013-04-25 05:36:12.

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