Bob has early stage dementia and can’t be left alone. He needs care around the clock. He and his family want him to remain in his home, so they have called in a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to assist with his care. A CNA is a Certified Nurse Assistant, or Nurse Aid. CNA’s must receive training and pass a state exam that consists of a written exam and skills test to be licensed. They must take classes in physiology, anatomy, medical terminology, and train by assisting patients under supervision. While some CNA’s work in hospitals or long term care facilities, others, like the CNA who cares for Bob, work in a home healthcare setting.
Bob isn’t able to cook for himself and needs help bathing, dressing, and taking his medicines. He is weak and needs help walking. Instead of wearing a permanent catheter, he chooses to be catheterized twice a day to empty his bladder. His CNA can assist him with these things. Sometimes Bob gets his days and nights confused. He wants to go out in the middle of the night to go for a walk or start his car, so he has a CNA that stays overnight with him. She must find a way to talk him out of these activities while maintaining his dignity. Even though he needs care, he still wants a measure of independence and to be treated with respect.
How Do I Know If We Need a CNA?
If you start noticing that a family member is starting to have trouble with daily activities, is not as mentally agile as they used to be, or has trouble making it through the day, a CNA can help care for a their needs. Some only need help for a few hours, and others require around the clock care. Often a patient’s doctor will help make the decision about what kind of assistance is necessary. If a person has non-medical needs, often a companion caregiver can be of service. When more specialized care such as basic nursing skills is required, CNA’s can be a good resource. The difference is in the certification and training.
What Can I Expect from a CNA?
A CNA should perform their duties with professionalism and compassion. Patience and a sense of humor can be priceless as well. According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, practitioners must renew their registration with the state every two years. A CNA can perform the tasks that they are trained to do, such as feeding, bathing, inserting catheters, and taking vitals such as oxygen levels, pulse rate, oxygen rate, and blood pressure. They can help take care of wounds and help with rehabilitation.
Choosing a CNA
Nursing homes, senior centers, doctors offices, churches, and word of mouth can be good sources to help locate a CNA provider. Extension of You Home Care will soon be offering CNA services as well. When possible, it is important to involve the patient in choosing a CNA because personalities are important when they will be spending extended time together.