Everything You Need To Know Before Hiring A Certified Nursing Assistant

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Working as a full-time caregiver or caring for someone for 24 hours a day/7 days a week can undoubtedly take a toll on anyone. Indeed, someone with constant caring needs and who can’t be left alone requires you to be “on-duty” day and night. This is why, due to high caring and companionship demands, you may get very little time for yourself. For example, if you are caring for a family member with dementia, you have to deal with frequent behavioral issues, wandering risks, that can be dangerous such as leaving the burner on. Also, caring for a patient who is on complete bed rest or who requires continuous ambulation from bed to wheelchair may get you severe back problems.  

The responsibilities may restrict you to perform your routine tasks such as shopping, banking, and taking care of your medical needs. Eventually, you will end up getting stress-related illness and burnout. Considering this, hiring help can provide you immense relief from some of your responsibilities and can give you adequate time for yourself. For this reason, hiring a Certified Nursing Assistant can be the best choice. Not only do they work for the patient’s care, housekeeping, and cooking tasks, but they also have the expertise to assist your loved one with health care needs. 

Interestingly, many researchers have found that patients can be more cooperative with someone other than a primary caregiver. For example, taking a shower might not be as complicated as it used to be. Furthermore, hiring a certified nursing assistant can help you preserve your relationship with your loved one instead of always being a taskmaster. 

Certified nursing assistants usually come in fresh for a couple of hours. Therefore, they have the energy to get engaged with the patient in a way you might be too exhausted to do around the clock. 

“Hiring help cannot only be a requirement but a gift for your loved one”

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant, Exactly?  

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are trained health professionals that provide direct care whether in-home or in a facility to their clients who are unable to care for themselves. Many research studies have proven that CNAs are the backbone of the healthcare system. 

Significantly, we have used the term “Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA” here because it is routinely used. Nevertheless, some states and employer used a different title such as “Nurse Aide” or “Patient Care Assistant”

“Just about everything the patient needs, CNA does”

What are the Primary Functions of a CNA? 

Certified Nursing Assistants have a crucial role to play in your loved one’s life. Some of their major tasks are mentioned below;

  • Assessing and recording vital signs.
  • Providing personal care assistance including hygiene care, dressing, grooming, toileting,
  • Turning, position, and ambulating the clients.
  • Recording intake and output.
  • Housekeeping activities such as cleaning, washing, laundry.
  • Helping with activities and outdoors.
  • Administering medications.
  • Taking clients for the doctor’s appointment.

What Does a Certified Nursing Assistant Do for Your Loved One? 

CNAs work closely with the patients, hence they are aware of the physical as well as the hidden needs of their patients. Most importantly, they constantly work in driving comfort to their clients.

Certified Nursing Assistants understand the complexity of every patient’s needs. Also, they work around the concept that each person has a different need, so they execute the care plan according to the patient’s preferences and requirements.

Not only that, but CNAs also provide companionship to the clients and family members. Sometimes we only need the presence of someone in the room to calm us down, to listen, and to allow us to ventilate our thoughts. Undoubtedly, CNAs fill that seat and they provide support to the client and their family to deal with those hard times.

The CNAs job description is far beyond the physical tasks. Furthermore, they build a strong relationship with their clients because they are with them more than anyone else in most cases.

“CNA is the fact that the patient and the family see the most, and probably the unforgettable face”

What is the Primary Difference Between a CNA and Other Care Nurse? 

Serving as a frontline contact between medical staff and patients, CNAs often work in nursing and assisted living facilities. These nurses usually implement the care plans that are prepared by the registered nurses. In contrast to CNAs, Registered Nurses (RNs) have more autonomy and expertise in performing advanced clinical tasks. Also, RNs are allowed to take several decisions for patient care that usually CNAs cannot. Another type of health professional is licensed practice nurses or LPNs. Their scope of work is also much different than that of CNAs. As compared to CNAs, LPNs are allowed to do several advanced tasks but under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN). While CNAs and LPNs do perform some of the same tasks, LPNs provide more extensive patient care; however, CNAs have a more limited scope of practice. 

How to Hire a Certified Nursing Assistant?

There are many formal and informal ways of finding a qualified CNA. The formal way is to contact a home care agency located nearby to the patient’s residence. There is a long list of agencies available in urban and suburban areas.  People who can help you in finding the right agency according to your needs include your doctor, staff nurses, family, friends, and community members who have used an agency. You can also check out the online reviews for an agency. Also, you can consider contacting your local area agency to ask who they hold contracts with for their clients. 

There are many questions that you consider while choosing a home health agency for your loved one. These include;

  1. Is the agency licensed by the state? (Many but not all agencies need a license to run a home health agency). 
  2. Ask them how long they are in the business?
  3. Are the workers licensed and insured? What training and credentials do their CNAs hold?
  4. Request them to provide you their packet of information that describes their services, fee, contact details, and a list of references. This will help you to review the information before meeting with the agency representative. 

Certified Nursing Assistant Education and Training 

Certified Nursing Assistants require 75 hours of training and then they have to pass a state exam. After this, they get registered at the Nurse Aide Registry. Besides that, they should also have certain certifications such as Basic Life Support. 

There are additional requirements in several states, such as disease screening, stamina evaluation, etc. Those candidates who have a criminal background are thoroughly checked before certification.

How Do You Assess the Qualities of a CNA? 

It is extremely essential to thoroughly assess the qualities of a CNA before hiring them. For this, you need to keep in mind the following aspects that will help you to hire the most competent, trustworthy, and qualified professional.

  1. Should have the relevant clinical knowledge and skills.
  2. Should have prior work experience.
  3. Should be able to provide at least two references for background verification.
  4. Should have good communication skills.
  5. Should be able to monitor patients’ condition and even notice small changes.
  6. Should be clear about her role and responsibilities.
  7. Should be open to accepting feedback.
  8. Should be emotionally stable and able to manage stress and work exhaustion. 
  9. Should have time management skills.
  10. Should prioritize quality work and client satisfaction. 
  11. Should be respectful, compassionate, and empathetic towards clients and family. 

What Care Methods do CNAs Use? 

Certified Nursing Assistants not only work on maintaining the physical well-being of their patients rather they work on providing holistic care. This means that along with physical needs, they also work for your loved one’s mental health, social needs, and other aspects of care. 

Research studies suggest that professional caregivers can very likely help in reducing stress and enhancing communication. CNAs serve as the patient’s eyes and ears. In addition to that, they identify the things that family usually cannot.

Loneliness and depression commonly occur at elderly age and dependency. Thus, CNAs work as a friend that actively listens to them. This listening allows them to ventilate their feelings.

Apart from this, CNAs work to promote client’s independence. They provide them with the choices and power to make better decisions. Moreover, CNAs involve clients and families in implementing the care plans and give priority to client’s preferences. 

How Does a CNA Build a Care Program?

Certified nursing assistants develop a comprehensive care plan by scheduling the tasks (according to the clients’ requirements) that they need to perform every day. This care plan is organized to address the client’s most pressing needs like bathing, medication management, laundry, shopping, etc.

Usually, after assessing the client’s condition, case managers (usually registered nurses) create a care plan. It is important to understand that care plans need to be made through the involvement of the clients and families for better outcomes. After finalization, the plan is discussed with the assigned CNA who executes it.

CNAs regularly monitors the client’s condition and documents it. This helps in the regular evaluation of the care plans. After ongoing evaluation, case managers make the required changes to improve patient care and satisfaction.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Hiring a CNA? 

Hiring a qualified and competent Certified Nursing Assistant is highly essential because it directly affects your loved one’s care. Hence it is essential to assess the type of care you need and list down the services that you are aiming for. Another thing you need to consider is that you should hire a caregiver that matches your loved one’s personality.

It is better to write and discuss the job description and responsibilities before hiring the CNA. This will avoid any future mishaps. Likewise, allow your loved one or potential caregiver(s) to meet with each other. In most cases, this meets and greet helps in developing a good rapport between the two.

If possible, establish a two week trial period for your Certified Nursing Assistant. This will help us know each other and it will allow the caregiver to demonstrate their skills in a real-life setting.

This brings us to the end, we believe that the addition of the right caregiver can work wonders in the life of your loved one. These professional caregivers and CNAs can help you take some of the workloads off your shoulders and allow you to just be part of your loved one’s life again.

To be there for your loved one, you need to keep yourself well too, Thus hiring a professional caregiver is one way to accomplish this. This does not mean that you have failed, instead, it means that you recognize what’s healthiest for both you and your loved one.

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