The Important Role of CNAs in Home Health Care for the Elderly
Certified nursing assistants (CNA) provide outstanding care to patients in a variety of health care settings. Assisted living facilities, hospitals, nursing homes and private residences are just some of the places you will find CNAs.
CNAs are especially valuable in the world of home health care since many times elderly patients require some degree of assistance but do not require skilled nursing care. Many people looking for home health care for their aging parents, however, may be confused as to whether they need a CNA or a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN)
The differences between CNAs and nurses come down to the level of care they provide and how much these services costs. Since nursing care costs significantly more than CNA care, it is important that you understand what type of care your loved one requires.
If your elderly parent needs companion care and not skilled nursing care, a CNA is the best way to go. For example, a parent who needs help around the house and someone to provide companionship will benefit from a CNA since a CNA will be able to spend more time in the home at a lower price than a nurse.
That isn’t to say CNAs don’t provide essential services. They do. They also must complete a training course approved by the nursing board of the state in which they work. What follows are the most important duties of an in-home CNA.
- Assist with basic living activities. This is perhaps the most important function that CNAs provide. CNAs help patients do things that they are unable to do on their own like bathing, getting dressed and using the bathroom. They also can help feed a patient.
- Address health concerns. Since CNAs work under an RN, one important aspect of their job is to listen to any health concerns a patient has and relay those concerns to their supervisor.
- Take vital signs. Taking a patient’s temperature and blood pressure and recording that information for the RN supervisor is another way CNAs allow their supervisors to keep tabs on patients.
- Administration of medicine and treatment. Reminding patients that it is time to take their prescribed medicines is an important duty of CNAs. They also will be in charge of the oxygen supply of patients who require it. Further, CNAs are required to change the dressing on wounds and watch for things like bed sores.
- Light housekeeping. CNAs are expected to take care of the environment a patient is living in. Doing dishes and changing bed linens are typical housekeeping duties CNAs perform.
- Support ambulation efforts. CNAs help patients remain as mobile as possible by taking them on short walks around the home or helping them perform motion exercises. They also can help lift patients from their bed or chair to wheelchair.
While these are the official duties of CNAs, they perform several other important tasks as well. Think of them as cheerleaders for their patients. Talking with patients and trying to keep their spirits up are the most critical functions CNAs perform. They also provide a patient’s family with the peace of mind of knowing their loved one is being cared for by someone who is genuinely interested in their well-being.
At Physicians Choice Private Duty, we take great care when it comes to hiring CNAs. That is why we have a stringent interview process. While all of our CNAs are certified, there are some important qualities that cannot be assessed through testing. Things like compassion, empathy and respect. Likewise, we provide competitive salaries and benefits that reduce turnover and allow our patients to enjoy a long-term relationship with the CNA assigned to them.