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If you have recently gone through CNA (certified nursing assistant) training in your state and you are ready to start working at an assisted living facility near you, then you may be ready for the fast paced job. However, even though you have been trained properly, you may need a few tips and tricks to get through the first few weeks without a great deal of stress and aggravation. Keep reading to learn about a few of these tips.
Carry Some Odor Reducing Substances
As you probably know, you will need to help individuals with brief changing. This will likely need to happen multiple times a day since around 50% of all residents in assisted living facilities are incontinent. It is imperative that changing occurs in a timely manner to reduce skin infection, especially if feces are present. However, as a new CNA you may not be able to handle the smells of the wastes you come into contact with.
While regular fecal matter is generally unpleasant, you are likely to experience some residents who have a condition called Clostridium difficilecolitis. This condition occurs where bacteria overgrow along the intestinal tract and attack the tissues of the intestines. This happens commonly when people take antibiotics, and the elderly are susceptible to it. Diarrhea as well as the release of dead cells through the colon will occur, and wastes will usually smell fairly foul.
If you know that residents have presented with diarrhea after taking antibiotics, or if your residents are currently taking antibiotic medications, then prepare yourself for some odors during brief changes. If you feel as those these odors may be overpowering and lead to gagging, then carry a small vial of peppermint oil in your pocket. Place one drop of oil under each nostril before entering the resident's room. You can also use a small amount of vapor rub under the nose. Vapor rub can also be placed inside a surgical mask and worn during clean up. While a mask may seem unprofessional and offensive to some, gagging during the cleaning process is likely to offend far more residents than the mask will.
Find A Stress Outlet
During your CNA training, you surely learned about HIPAA and how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects the privacy of the residents in a nursing facility. This means that all health information that you learn must be kept confidential and quiet. This means that you cannot discuss a resident's medical condition with anyone who is not directly caring for the patient. You cannot reveal information that may identify a patient and you also cannot discuss residents in a place where the general public can overhear the conversation.
While these rules may seem simple and easy to follow, a slip up can happen easily if you discuss your stressful day with your significant other, a family member, or a friend. A HIPAA violation will likely lead to termination. What most people do not know though, is that you can be charged with a crime as well. This can result in a steep $50,000 fine and possibly a one year jail sentence.
This means that you should not talk about residents or your day beyond basic information and activities. This can be difficult, especially when you first start dealing with deaths, serious illnesses, and sometimes agitated residents. To help you cope, look for an emotional outlet that can help you release the stresses of the job. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, laughter, listening to music, and partaking in a massage are things that can help to reduce stress. Taking your mind off your work by going to see a movie or reading a book can help as well. Try a variety of techniques to see what works for you.