CNA's for better care

  1. 5
    Hi, my name is Deidre and I live and work in Connecticut. I have been a CNA since since 1991. Many times I have thought of leaving this line of work because I couldn't handle the workload in Nurseing homes. Maybe they aren't all that bad and maybe it's just been my experience but I have watched so many aids, friends of mine, drop and mistreat residents. The neglect I have witnessed over the years caused me to leave CNA work for a few years untill I found out about homecare. I love homecare. I am able to spend the time needed with the client and actually have a conversation with them and give them the time and respect and care needed for that persons overall well being. It feels great. Gone are the days of having 12 residents to bathe,oral care,dress and transfer in as little as two hours. I felt abusive and their was nobody to complain to because the nurses hands were tied. I was working in a system that didn't work and nobody seemed to care what poor quality of care these residents recieved. The ones who cared couldnt change anything either. The reason Im writing this is because recently my agency sent me to a facility and I experienced all over again the way things are when you have a high ratio of residents to aids. Everyone is so busy and its not there fault at all. They are just trying to do their jobs the best they can in the little amount of time allowed. I wa so upset and complained and was asked to leave the facility because the nurse reported that I was a problem. I really wasnt . Their were no gloves and the girls were not supervising a fall risk and also someone had an infectious disease and no infection control procedures were being practiced because the aids were afraid to touch him plus they were running around like crazy with their work. I was just offering suggestions to the nurse to get things under control. She got stressed out cause she didnt have time to address the issues and so she reported me saying I was causing trouble. I felt awful but I also feel helpless to change things. I know how hard it can be to work in a facility so I wrote an e-mail to Senator Rob Kane and told him of my experiences as a CNA over the years and asked him if there was anything that could be done to lower the patient to aid ratio. He responded to my e-mail and said maybe there is something that can be done. He forwarded my e-mail over to his legislative aid to review with the dapartment of health and aging. So I am asking all you CNA's and nurses too if you feel inclined to help out. If you would like to try and see if we can make some changes in health care , now is the time. Send an e-mail to Senator Rob Kane if you live in Connecticut. Tell him of your experiences as a CNA working in a facility. If you live outside of Ct. , find out who your senator is and write them. I would love love love to see a law passed that specified certain ratio requirements in a facility. Can you imagine this...6 residents to one aid? That would be great. Imagine the quality of care,not just physical but emotional too, that we would be able to provide to our residents. Their would be more time to help oneanother with lifts and transfers. That means safety for our residents and for our backs and necks which is soo important since many of us do this work right into retirement. I hope many of you will feel moved to write a letter. This is a window of opportunity for us and I hope everyone will take it. Thanks and GOD bless. Deidre
    lindarn, barbyann, Boka, and 2 others like this.
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  4. 2
    Deidre,

    You are a wonderful CNA. You should be so proud of the care you have given your pts and the effect your letter is having!

    How wonderful!
    lindarn and philippians4:13 like this.
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    Deirdre, you are a credit to CNA's everywhere. There were bills last year to improve staffing in nursing homes. That, and all related bills and discussion, were never adressed. You are right. We all need to keep after our government to do what it needs to do for our most fragile citizens.
    It comes down to state reimbursement to facilities because they claim they can't staff better without more money from the state. Given that most nursing homes in this state are run by for-profit corporations, this is a lot of bull aimed at helping them keep their profits high.
    CT hasn't updated its minimum staffing guidelines in over twenty years. People live longer and sicker than they used to. It is appalling to see the care that the elderly are getting in the richest state in the richest country in the world. Written "testimony" by people like us who see what is going on every day can help change things.
    lindarn and philippians4:13 like this.
  6. 1
    Deidra, I know what you mean about care in these nursing homes first hand! I recently went through a CNA training course free of charge with the agreement this course would be free if I worked for them for a year. I had been raising my children for the past 16 years and out of the job force so I thought this would be a good starting point to a new career. I knew what the course entailed and the job itself...what I didn,t expect was after the training course was completed and I graduated...somehow the care for up to 5 residents per shift, went up to 9,10 or possibly 11 per shift!!! My first day on the job, I was also told to throw out everything I had just learned, because that wasn,t reality! My first weeks I was told on numerous occasions I had to Speed it up if I wanted to make it! On another occasion while holding a residents hand I was told...there was no time for that! My hand picked mentor herself in the first week divulged to me how she quote." hated this job"! Need-less- to-say I found out very quickly how these seasoned CNA,s were whipping through 9-10 residents per shift....the bottom line was...they were not giving them the appropriate care or time these residents should have respectively been given. Another thing that bothered me was... I went into the training course with a horrible cold but was told if we missed a day we would be booted from the course, so I stuck it out.. Once out of training and into orientation I felt like I was getting better but then a few of the girls came in really sick and the next thing I knew was I was getting sick again!!! I don,t blame the girls, some of them didn,t have insurance and most were just afraid to call in sick because of the fear of losing their job!! This constant being sick and pushing myself and putting up with all the negative, sometimes nasty comments an a daily basis and seeing how poorly these residents were being treated and knowing there was nothing I could do , made me absolutely sick! My husband and my kids all said...I had changed and just to quit, they had never seen me so distraught! The clincher was...if I didn,t stay the year and left...I would owe them $1500. for the course they put me through. I don,t have the money to give them so making the decision to leave was very difficult...what was even more difficult and kept me there even longer were the residents themselves. I will not miss the nurses or the other CNA,s that have been there that I have met, but I will miss some of the residents I have worked with very very much. I truly felt I couldv,e made a difference. I will never forget them. I hope to still go for my state exam and hopefully find a better more caring enviroment to work in and in the future possibly go for an RN degree. We do need to set guidelines for how many residents a CNA should be allowed to take care of responsibly and appropriately for the well being of the residents. The overall attitude in this place ate at my conscience terribly...I just couldn,t be partner to the crime...even for the cost of $1500 I don,t have and now have to try to figure out how I will pay for it. I just couldn,t tolerate what actually happened it litterly made me sick to think the entire staff there thought it was all OK! Does anyone know what it will take to get laws into effect that will get these guidelines? These residents really need our help! These residents have truly touched my heart.
    lindarn likes this.
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    I will most certainly do as you ask. I started my career in the early 80's as a CNA in pediatric long term care. We had 5 pts on days, if someone called out sick we went up to 6 pts MAX. It seemed a reasonable work load to me. Now this population was much easier to work with, they were for the most part non-communicative, and made no demands on your time. They were diapered and fed on a schedule. Most were in wheelchairs so wandering was not an issue.

    I seriously don't know how the CNAs do it in todays LTC environment. I am now an RN and I lasted 4 days in a sub-acute facility in Ffld County. It was SCARY!!!. I hurried back to my hospital job which is at least do-able!

    I promise to follow through on this request. We have to try, right?
    lindarn likes this.
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    I am glad that you have decided to write your letter and not be like the thousands of nurses and aids who turn their heads and say, well thats just the way it is. Yes, thats true. But the reason it is the way it is is because nurses and aids are afraid of losing their jobs if they speak up. I was scared too. I did lose jobs for speaking up. But I got another job. A better one. Maybe nurses and aids feel like they cant make a difference. Thats true in some way too. One person on their own would have a very hard time changeing anything but everyone together would definately succeed. Maybe the hesitate ones need to ask themselves this question. How do I want to be treated when I am elderly and frail? You or I could end up in a nursing home and that to me is a very scary thought. Not to mention the people already in there. Thanks for careing enough to stick your neck out there. I am thanking you for all the elderly who cannot thank you themselves. GOD bless you. Deidre
    lindarn likes this.
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    Boka,
    Your experience is the experience of so many CNAs. We go into this line of work to do hands on care because we love people and helping the elderly. Because our hearts are in it and we derive great satisfaction from the "job." Then we graduate and have our first real life work experience and its nothing like we thought it would be. You find out that if you dont neglect or abuse your patient then you wont last in the job. By abuse I mean this... disregard their feelings and needs. Emotional and physical. Rush them and hurry them. Dont communicate to them because theirs no time so they are just an object in a bed to you. You abuse yourself once the guilt kicks in. You skip your breaks so you can brush someones teeth or clean feces out from their fingernails. You eat lunch quick so you dont have to fly someone through a shower. Anything to free up more time for your residents so you dont feel like such a monster. Then you burn out. Have anger and resentment. Are overworked. I have seen so much abuse because aids were tired and overworked and had to dehumanize their residents in order to get the work load done of careing for 12 residents. This makes me physically ill as well. All to keep their job because it pays above minimum wage and is easy to get through school. One month training to make above minimum wage and great job security too. So they do whatever it takes to keep their job. Not everyone can do it and thats the great news. Not everyone is willing to dehumanize a helpless human being. These are the aids who end up quitting. Sadly. These are the aids that are a blessing to the facilities and the facilities end up losing them. Everyone loses. I completely understand your dilemma. How awful that you had to be in that situation but also how wonderful. You got to see first hand what goes on and I just pray that you will feel driven to do something about it. Any small way can make a difference. Write a letter and expect a response. Dont quit till someone responds. Our voice is the only voice these elderly have. I realize that now. I need to try to change things. It doesnt have to be this way. It really doesnt. I think you would enjoy work in homecare. Dont give up CNA work. You have the heart for it. GOD Bless. Deidre
    lindarn likes this.
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    Okay, I have only made it one week, 16 hours in my CNA training class. I have been reading some of the forums in here. What all of you mostly described is contrary to what I am being taught, and even according to Iowa state law. So maybe it depends on the the state laws and regulations. If you want better care for the patients then contact your state's ombudsman, as far as I have been taught every state should have one. In fact the first 2 days of my training were making sure I know and am aware of what neglect and mistreatment look like in a HCF, and more specifically what the state's laws and regulations are. Perhaps OSHA should get involved. Years ago, when I worked as a housekeeper in a nursing home in a small town in Indiana I was appalled at not the CNAs or the Nurses, but my coworkers who simply didn't take cleaning seriously, not as much as I did. And the only reason I took it seriously was because the residents lived there. So I had to leave. Now I seem to be hearing horror stories about CNA work, and it does freak me out a bit. I want to help, and I don't want to experience the frustration you all experienced. Iowa state training teaches us to encourage the quality of life, even if that means hugging your resident and even holding their hand. Also allowing them time to do things on their own. In the state of Iowa I am also learning that certain types of bed rails are now restricted and against the law because it is considered restraining a resident which leads to a lot of legal and ethical issues. I have only lived in the state of Iowa for a little over a month, but I already found it easier to get into CNA training here than in Washington state (which is where I previously lived). I had trouble finding courses that simply trained and certified (even through the local community college), all I could find was the Nursing program which had a long waiting list. It is also taught in the state of Iowa that you are suppose to observe and report EVERYTHING! Am I getting the correct training, or are they lacking when you get into a real job? Is it really that bad? Or is it depending on the facilities? Should you not review the Facilities' Policies on abuse and neglect, and even OSHA's policies on resident/CNA ratios? Can someone set me straight?


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