The CNA’s job is not an easy one, they can be pushed behind schedule so easily that they can only catch up and take a break when the other shift comes in. The CNA can often be found soothing the ruffled feathers of family members, running from one demanding resident to the other, helping other CNAs with their tasks. Face it; the life of the CNA is hectic and demanding. You can’t prepare for every hiccup that comes along and slows you down but you can get control of your time and shave a few minutes here and there to help offset those moments when things don’t go so smoothly.
Beginning of Shift: Try to arrive about 15 minutes early for your shift, talk with the other CNA’s, whose ward, wing or section you will be taking over. Get the heads up on some of the matters that are going to take time and get prepared for those both mentally and physically. Take notes, and find out what the aide before you could not get to before the end of the shift.
That should lead into a shift change meeting for all on coming Aides and nurses. Get you assignment and special instructions from the nurse, depending on the shift will depend on what will be done first. The morning shift is get everyone up, toileted and off to breakfast by a set time, assuming of course the aide is working is a residential nursing home or an assisted living home.
Toileting and Dressing: Every client and resident in a nursing care facility has to be toileted, dressed and redressed frequently and it can take time and drain the aide’s time. Here are a few tricks, to help with that.
1) Get the bathroom and all clothing prepared in advance in as many rooms as you can. If the room has a bathroom with a heat lamp, turn it on and get it to warming up. The elderly are always cold and it is never pleasant to sit on a freezing cold toilet seat upon waking up. If there is no heat lamp, close the door to the bathroom and shut off the light. The heater will warm the bathroom, if the light is on and the exhaust fan is running, the heat won’t stay in for very long. Get all of the oral care products set up and ready to use, hair brushes, wash clothes and towels.
2) Get the client on the toilet; here you can do it all. You can dress them, brush their teeth, hair and wash their face at the same time they are toileting. Sometimes the elderly can’t urinate on que and they require, ‘warm up time’, by the time you have all of their personal hygiene taken care of, they will have urinated, and clean them up and they are ready to go.
3) Making the bed and cleaning the room. Most residential nursing homes, frown on leaving a messy bed and room, unless otherwise scheduled, it is the CNA’s job to make the bed. Make sure you set up change of bedding prior to waking that particular client or resident. Don’t rush when you get behind schedule a little bit, someone will notice and come to your aide. Make sure the beds are made and the dirty clothing are put in the designated area. Set up extra under clothing for later throughout the day and prepare the room as much as you can for the resident to return to after their meal time.
4) If the resident can do most of the work themselves, let them, get them set up and help them to the rest room if need be, and make sure everything they need is within easy reach, while they are taking care of themselves the aide is free to make the bed and clean the room. Allow the resident to do as much for themselves as they possibly can, they may not be super rapid speedy about it, but you will save more time if you let them do it then to argue with them over it.
Summary: An organized aide is the aide that knows his/her clients and nurses. They prepare for the shift by coming in early and talking with the CNA they are relieving, and getting the information on potential time consuming issues. They map out a routine in their head, keep notes, and work smart. The aide should consolidate their movements and work in the interest of saving time at the same time making sure to provide quality care and comfort to the residents in their charge.
Expert Contribution by Kimberly T. CNA EMT-B