How to get away from a patient

  1. I'm a new CNA and I really need some advice from anyone who has experience with patient care.
    I work at a LTC facility and we're stretched beyond thin with almost no time to attend to our residents' emotional needs. I love to chat with them as I dress them, let them use the toilet, or clean them up but they always want me to stay longer to talk and they have so much to give. I feel awful because I cannot spend the 15 minutes in their room listening to them and keeping them company. But, at the same time, I don't know how to get away. Do I interrupt and say, "I'm so sorry, but I need to put 10 two-assist residents to bed within the span of the next 10 minutes and the hall call lights look like a Christmas tree, I'd love to talk but I've honestly got to go?" I feel awkward and many times I end up spending way too much time in one resident's room, putting me behind for the entire night. That's deadly as I am slow to begin with because I'm new.
    Some of the other CNAs just lie to the resident and say that they'll be right back but they never come back and the alert residents remember that. I am a person who does what I say I will and I refuse to simply say I'll be back in a few minutes and not return.
    How do you folks excuse yourself when your duties are done?

    Shel
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   Truly_Blessed
    I have also wondered this. I know when I start my clinicals they will be in an LTC....I would hate to be rude and interrupt these dear people when some of them don't get too many visitors. Hope you get some helpful replies
  4. by   twarlik
    I never lie to anyone and tell them I'll be right back and then never come back. I usually just say that I have to take care of some other things, but that I'll try to stop by a little later and chat some more. It is hard, especially when it's so obvious that they're just looking for someone to talk to.
  5. by   purplemania
    I think it is great that you are trying to accommodate your clients. If you try to satisfy everyone, regardless of the request, you will soon get burned out. Learn to say "I'm sorry. I have to go now", then LEAVE. You might make a note of who seems most needy in this are so that you can be sure they get to the common rooms for contact with others (if able).
  6. by   CoffeeRTC
    It is tough to do, but you just have to tell the resident....gosh I'd love to talk/ listen, but I have to run...I have X number of residents who need to get to be..I'll be back to chat if I get a few minutes...

    Sad to say, I miss spending time to chat or listen, but if you do, you wont get your work done.
  7. by   leslie :-D
    when i used to work evenings, i would try to pick one resident who was especially needy that day and sit 1:1 with them over pizza, fries, ice cream...i would bring them behind the nurse's station with me or would pull up a chair next to their bed and give them 15 minutes of undivided attn. this was when there'd be a lull in the evening and i would take a break. even if they were grossly demented, there's always something very social about eating. and btw, the unit i worked on, they were late stage dementia pts. something very universal about eating, love, affection and attention. everyone understands no matter what the impairment.
  8. by   mattsmom81
    You will have your favorite patients that you would love to spend time with, but can't due to the workload. Some will try to dominate your time/are needy...and if you can't be upfront with them ask your coworker to page you to the desk after 5 minutes to give you an exit line. Practice kind limit setting with your patients...you will need it.

    It was hard to walk away when I was just starting our but you must learn how to prioritize. Nurses that gab with their patients and families while other patients' basic needs aren't being met, even literally crashing and burning, haven't learned how to prioritize and I work with some like this...very frustrating.

    I also wish I had more time to just visit with my patients....but unfortunately most shifts aren't like that are they.
  9. by   jyoung1950
    I usually tell them that I wish I could stay longer with them but there's another resident of mine waiting to use the bathroom. Most residents who were alert understood.

    However, my alert ones could also sense that there wasn't enough help. "Don't you have any help?" they'd ask. Facility didn't want us to ever tell them we were short; so rarely would I say that. However, if we really were strained to the limit because of short staff, the facility's lyin' little rule meant nothing to me and, by God, I did tell them the truth. These aren't children we are dealing with. But the facility never told me not to tell them how many residents I had to care for and when they'd ask if I had help, I'd tell them "No, it's me and you 13 ladies."

    And about not telling them we are short? Well, if it's a direct question from a resident and I am ordered to make up some other excuse, then I'm lying to them, aren't I? And isn't lying to a resident a form of abuse? It's OK for the higher ups to indirectly abuse them, and when abuse will protect the almighty name of the facility, well, then, go ahead and abuse them.

    LTC has the most unrealistic working conditions.

    After 2 1/2 years of it, my last day was Wednesday as I'm going to work at a hospital. I know I was a good aid, but was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who came and complimented me and stated that it is a crime that the good aids leave. Doing my best to be a good aid for my residents took everything I had. If, somehow the working conditions, the lack of common sense and unrealistic rules and regulations and unreasonableness of the higher ups were to change, I'd go back to taking care of my ladies in a New York minute. I'm the type of person who can't not care. If I could've copped a selfish, touch sh!t Grandma attitude, I probably wouldn't have gotten burnt out and would be one of the ones others mean when they regret that the good aids leave.


    Quote from shel_wny
    I'm a new CNA and I really need some advice from anyone who has experience with patient care.
    I work at a LTC facility and we're stretched beyond thin with almost no time to attend to our residents' emotional needs. I love to chat with them as I dress them, let them use the toilet, or clean them up but they always want me to stay longer to talk and they have so much to give. I feel awful because I cannot spend the 15 minutes in their room listening to them and keeping them company. But, at the same time, I don't know how to get away. Do I interrupt and say, "I'm so sorry, but I need to put 10 two-assist residents to bed within the span of the next 10 minutes and the hall call lights look like a Christmas tree, I'd love to talk but I've honestly got to go?" I feel awkward and many times I end up spending way too much time in one resident's room, putting me behind for the entire night. That's deadly as I am slow to begin with because I'm new.
    Some of the other CNAs just lie to the resident and say that they'll be right back but they never come back and the alert residents remember that. I am a person who does what I say I will and I refuse to simply say I'll be back in a few minutes and not return.
    How do you folks excuse yourself when your duties are done?

    Shel
  10. by   jyoung1950
    Are you a nurse or a CNA? At the facility I just left, the CNA's were not allowed to go behind the nurse's station except to get a supply or answer the phone nor were we allowed to sit at the nurse's station.

    I don't know if that's a general rule at all places - hospital or LTC - but it sure was at our place!

    I'd be interested in knowing whether other CNA's at this forum are allowed to do this. We can't even do our paperwork at the nurse's station. We have to use a resident's tray table or any other flat surface, other than the nurse's station.


    Quote from earle58
    when i used to work evenings, i would try to pick one resident who was especially needy that day and sit 1:1 with them over pizza, fries, ice cream...i would bring them behind the nurse's station with me or would pull up a chair next to their bed and give them 15 minutes of undivided attn. this was when there'd be a lull in the evening and i would take a break. even if they were grossly demented, there's always something very social about eating. and btw, the unit i worked on, they were late stage dementia pts. something very universal about eating, love, affection and attention. everyone understands no matter what the impairment.
  11. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from jyoung1950
    Are you a nurse or a CNA? At the facility I just left, the CNA's were not allowed to go behind the nurse's station except to get a supply or answer the phone nor were we allowed to sit at the nurse's station.

    I don't know if that's a general rule at all places - hospital or LTC - but it sure was at our place!

    I'd be interested in knowing whether other CNA's at this forum are allowed to do this. We can't even do our paperwork at the nurse's station. We have to use a resident's tray table or any other flat surface, other than the nurse's station.
    i'm very much an rn and if there was downtime, i would take a resident w/me behind the nurse's station.
  12. by   sunnkist4
    Quote from jyoung1950
    Are you a nurse or a CNA? At the facility I just left, the CNA's were not allowed to go behind the nurse's station except to get a supply or answer the phone nor were we allowed to sit at the nurse's station.

    I don't know if that's a general rule at all places - hospital or LTC - but it sure was at our place!

    I'd be interested in knowing whether other CNA's at this forum are allowed to do this. We can't even do our paperwork at the nurse's station. We have to use a resident's tray table or any other flat surface, other than the nurse's station.
    At the hospital I work at as a Student Nurse Tech (basically a CNA position and I am a licensed CNA) we are allowed to sit at the nurses station and do any work that is needed. I think it helps us to feel like part of the nursing staff and it provides us with an area in which to do our work. At your facility was it a matter of the nurses being concerned about a resident mistaking cna's for nurses or something? I find this very interesting.
  13. by   missmercy
    They wouldn't let you sit at the desk?! What does that do for fostering teamwork, cohesive, comprehensive care, collaboration......?! That yanks my crank!!!
    It is very difficult to find a balance between caring for basic needs and meeting the other (sometimes just as vital but not life-threatening) needs. I too would use my break time to chat with residents, would make sure to get my more needy ones to activities as they were able and sometimes went in on my time off --just to visit! Time is precious, being short staffed makes each moment even more precious!! PRIOTITIZE! PRIORITIZE! PRIORITIZE! After all the top priorities are met -- then add the icing!! Remember, sometimes those couple of moments can be just as beneficial to you as they can be for your residents!!
  14. by   Mandarella
    [font=Comic Sans MS]OK ,that's insane, insulting, giving a green light to everyone to "class" employees. How can anyone work somewhere that doesn't let fellow employees work in the same area? I would feel like I was unappreciated and lower than low. :angryfire That's definately not good for morale. What was the reasoning for not going behind the desk or even sitting at it?? They shouldn't be storing meds behind a desk, and patient confidentiality is just a given. Our CNA's chart their vitals right in the patient charts, so they have the same understanding of confidentiality that any nurses would have...besides seeing a patient's care plan could only be helpful to a CNA I would think...
    [font=Comic Sans MS]What do I know...


    Quote from jyoung1950
    Are you a nurse or a CNA? At the facility I just left, the CNA's were not allowed to go behind the nurse's station except to get a supply or answer the phone nor were we allowed to sit at the nurse's station.

    I don't know if that's a general rule at all places - hospital or LTC - but it sure was at our place!

    I'd be interested in knowing whether other CNA's at this forum are allowed to do this. We can't even do our paperwork at the nurse's station. We have to use a resident's tray table or any other flat surface, other than the nurse's station.

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