Health of Staff when working on the floor!

  1. Here in New England we had a few days that were well into the 90's. At work our company still had the heat on, we are not allowed to open windows unless the patients request us to. Management didn't want the heat off in case it got cold again, and as usual the patients were stating they were cold so no open windows. My poor CNA's were sweating like crazy!! I told them they were to keep water on them or in a place they could get to at all times, in that type of heat hydration is necessary. They informed me that company rules stated they were not allowed to drink when on the floor, the only time they can drink is when on thier 15 minute breaks or 30 minute lunch. They are not allowed to leave the floor unless it is break time. A couple looked like they were going to pass out from the heat, I sent them to the break room but had to send another CNA with them to assure they made it there, so now I am down 2 CNA's instead of 1. Why do companies, that are Health Care faculities, not only neglect thier staff's well being but, make rules that place thier staff in danger? I understand keeping food and fluids away from patients reach, there are areas the patients are not allowed to go into where drinks could be kept, or they can get a drink from the floor kitchen, but no, not allowed to drink AT ALL on the floor. Seems to me like they are setting the staff up for heat exhaustion and dehydration. I kept giving my staff cups of cold water when they walked by and told them if anyone had a problem with it they could come talk to me. But they felt bad about breaking the rules, I figured better that than having CNA's passing out.
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    About gentlegiver

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 897; Likes: 1,598
    LPN; from US
    Specialty: Geriatrics


  3. by   vampiregirl
    Yikes! Have you checked the company policy for yourself? It may be worded so that employees don't leave cups, bottles etc of drinks laying around or "hidden" on the units.

    I know there is always a pitcher of water on my med cart for med passes and lots of cups. I have no problem with my CNA's taking a minute to stop by my cart, grab a cup, and throw the cup away. I'll refill my pitcher as many times as I need

    If the safety/ well-being of employees isn't ensured, how on earth are they going to take good care of the residents?
  4. by   classicdame
    our facility has a system where the temp is set and if cool air is required to keep that temp then the AC comes on. If heat is required, warm air comes out. I believe that overheating can lead to dehydration and infection. Germs love warm air.
  5. by   StrwbryblndRN
    We have a water fountain near our nurses station (Hosptial). I can't imagine not being able to drink. Sounds crazy to me. This is water not a leisure cup of coffee or soda.
  6. by   NotFlo
    My facility has the same policy, for the entire floor staff, CNAs and nurses alike. Of course, the people who make the policy sit in their offices sipping coffee and water and eating snacks all day long while we're not even allowed water while on the floor.

    We had a meeting the other week where they made drinking water on the floor sound like something so vile and disgusting. It was like they were talking about someone dropping trou and moving their bowels while on the floor. It is really beyond me why they focus on this issue so much.

    I never take a break or lunch and end up so dehydrated every day. I do drink from the water pitcher on my cart (after making sure the halls are all clear) but those 4 oz cups just don't cut it in the heat.
  7. by   CompleteUnknown
    Gentlegiver, I find this astounding! The outside temperature is in the 90's and the heat is still on?? And you're only allowed to have a drink when on break? That's crazy thinking on management's part!

    I live in a hot climate and a facility where I once worked has "D.E.A.D." signs (standing for Drop Everything And Drink) up on the wall in all the staff areas. It's quite startling to see them at first but when you read the information under the heading, it reminds everyone that dehydration can be deadly and can happen quickly in hot weather, and that staff are to drop everything every hour or so and give everyone a drink. The little spiel on the sign ends with "Don't forget yourself, have a drink too!" or something like that. Cold water and cups are easily accessible in every area of the facility.

    Of course, it's not so easy to give everyone a drink every single hour, but I think it's a good message and it reminds everyone not to be complacent about the need for extra fluids in hot weather.
  8. by   gentlegiver
    I am often amazed at the rules that are enacted that really do place the staff in unhealthy situations. Why is it that Health Care Companies refuse to allow staff the ability to take care of themselves? Can they not see that healthy staff can take better care of thier residents?