If you already are or are going to be a resident at a nursing home, the person who will help you with your direct care will be a Certified Nursing Assistance or CNA. She will be the one who assists you with your bath, dressing, feeding, and other activities of daily living. This person will become one of your closest friends while you need help with rehabilitation or long-term care.
Most likely there will be three individuals that will serve in this capacity if the nursing home that you are living in is on a three-shift schedule. Otherwise, there will be two. In the morning a CNA will assist with your morning routine, such as your personal hygiene, taking and recording your vital signs, help set up your breakfast tray and assist you to get ready for your day. If you need assistance to the restroom, she will be the one you will call or if you need transport to the activity room, she will do that, as well. She will make sure your lunch is delivered to you and assist with any needs you require with it. In the evening, another CNA will assist with your bath, if you are on the evening bathing schedule, assist with supper, and help you get ready for bed as well as any other needs you may have during the night. CNAs do not give out medications, although they may assist the nurse with giving them, if supervised. They do not do treatment involving medications; however, they may do other types of treatments.
For your family or responsible party, your CNA is a valuable source of information concerning your daily care. If you are unable to keep up with the details of everyday needs, she will know when you may require more changes of clothes, a restock of personal hygiene products or extra blankets. She will learn your likes and dislikes and, if she is a great CNA, she will come to know how you prefer things and automatically meet your needs.
A good relationship with your direct care givers is vital for your stay to be a pleasant and beneficial one. Here are some dos and don’ts:
Do treat your CNAs with respect. They are your caregivers, and hopefully, your friends, but not your maids. You will have other staff that will see to the housekeeping duties you require and the CNAs will perform some simple tasks but their main focus is your personal well being. Don’t be demanding. CNAs have approximately nine other residents to take care of during their shift. These others also have similar needs as yours, and some may require more assistance than you. You surely will have to wait your turn, so do be patient. However, do inform your CNA of anything that is an urgent need. Do ask for explanations if there is something you do not understand but don’t confront with anger or resentment. You do have other sources to go to if you have a conflict with who is caring for you or if the care is substandard. Don’t keep that information to yourself.
Your stay at the nursing home, hopefully, will be short-term and it will be a time of nurturing recovery. If it is long-term, your CNA can be a great source of caring and comfort. You will not be alone and you may develop some very good friends in those that give you direct care.