Certified Nurse Aide

Certified Nurse Aide

Beasely

syracuse, NY

Female, 31

I have been doing aide work for the majority of three years. I work in a nursing home. It's quite fast paced where I work. I do things for nurses such as vitals, help with wound care as well as daily grooming for the elderly and provide companionship. We also have to do the end of life care, which can be emotionally draining. You tend to become very attatched. It has been by far the hardest, but most rewarding, position that I have ever held. So please, ask away :-)

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16 Questions

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Last Answer on August 11, 2014

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Has being around so many old people changed how you want to spend your later years?

Asked by Ed over 6 years ago

In a sense it has...more so, it has opened my eyes to how little control we have in our lives and makes me not want to waste the time I have now. It's not always their health that gets them put into a nursing home, but their mental health. One woman on our floor was only 54 with full on dementia. She didn't know her family, she couldn't hold a legible conversation whatsoever. It was so very sad to see her kids and husband visit. Many no longer know their husbands or wives, who still come everyday that they can because of the love they had. It hits rather quickly, and you slip fast. I now take my days for what they are and try not to put things off. 

Have you ever seen any 'senior abuse' in your nursing home and why do you think some nursing employees stoop to that?

Asked by KC over 6 years ago

I have never personally saw any abuse, but I have heard stories of people being fired for such. I think they stoop to that level the same reason any bully does-because they are angry, bitter and insecure with their own lives. Taking it out on a person who is utterly defenseless makes them feel big, when in actuality, they have never been more small. 

One big thing that is not so much physical abuse, but maybe mental, that I see are people who have "had a bad day" and come in absolutely miserable. They just want to "get their job done" and don't take the time that they probably should have with their elder. It's not fair to them to not get proper day to day because the person assigned to you just isn't feeling it that day. This is a job where you literally need to put everything aside in your life. They are confused, scared, angry as it is. Most do not remember from day to day much less hour to hour, and they have a moody person telling them you have to do this, you have to do that...it only increases their confusion and combativeness if that is their personality. To me, that is not fair to them.

Are there social cliques in old folks homes? Like the equivalent of the "cool kids" in high school? Or do old people just not have time for that nonsense?

Asked by redhair1 over 6 years ago

Yes! Kind of a funny story, we have three little old ladies that eat together, do activities together and sit watching movies together. Anybody who walks by they will make comments to them and whisper to each other, or if a resident is being loud and/or unruly they would shoosh them and try to "stand up for us" lol. It was almost like "Mean Girls: The Senior Years" :-) I had one resident who sat with two other ladies and if a new person was placed at their table they would almost act like you would see in school with the new kid. It's kind of comical to watch lol. 

I heard that STD rates of nursing home residents have significantly risen over the past decade. Have you noticed the community being particularly frisky and is the administration making an effort to counteract this trend?

Asked by ibriles over 6 years ago

I work a particurly heavy floor with about 85-90% completely not with it. So in my own experience, I do not see a lot of friskiness going on where I work. Although I have not experienced it myself, it has happened. If they are two consenting adults, who have the mental capacity to say that is what they want to happen, there isn't much that we can do (as long as both are healthy, we would obviously step in if one were to have been found to have an std). We can and will also step in if one of the residents are not mentally prepared to make such a choice or if it could put them in danger, or as I said above, one did have an std.

As far as STD's in the nursing home, I am unaware of that. I have yet to see a resident with an std. If a resident came in with one or is found to have one, they would have a careful eye kept on them to ensure that it was not spread to other residents. They may even do "one on one" with the resident where a cna stays with that resident at all times. That would probably only be enforced if the resident was particuarly frisky. In my experience, however, a lot of elders just aren't very sexually active anymore. You get some comments here and there in a joking manner but there generally is not a lot of sexual activity among them.

I can't speak for all nursing homes, just with mine alone. I would think this may possibly be more of a problem in senior communities or assisted living. 

Is it uncomfortable having to help the elderly go to the bathroom / clean up afterward, and how did you get used to it?

Asked by F5 over 6 years ago

Honestly, I went in thinking that I would find it hard or uncomfortable, or maybe that my presence would make them uncomfortable. A lot of them have mostly been ok with having me there, and that made me feel a lot better. I tried to maintain small talk, which a lot of them liked. Over time it really became like second nature. I was more uncomfortable with the men, probably because I think they were more uncomfortable having me help them, which is completely understandable.

Do most people in nursing homes die in their sleep, and what's it like going into a room in the morning to find someone dead?

Asked by Cazoulis over 6 years ago

That's a good question. In my experience, no they have not. There have been some that unexpectedly pass in there sleep (or random places), but most show various signs that they are going downhill and are expected to pass. They are usually put on a medicine (usually morphine) to help keep them calm and comfortable, and any pain they may have, to a minimum. It can take hours, days..sometimes even a week or more. It's a sad process, especially if it is your resident that you have cared for. Some of them you have to see the family mourn the process as well.

For the ones that pass unexpectedly, it is a shock, although something that you unfortunately get used to. You feel the shock, it's unnerving to see someone moving around just hours before to suddenly just be completely lifeless. You may think "obviously they are lifeless", what I mean is something differant. You can literally see that there is no life in there anymore, it's hard to explain. For the ones expected, I spend a lot of time in and out of their rooms. I talk to them, if they were my resident, I tell them memories I have had working with them. The ones that have no families are particuarly hard for me. If it's my resident, when they do pass, you give them one final cleaning and you say your goodbyes before the funeral home comes to pick them up. Theres a lot of emotion that goes into it that is hard to put into words because each person handles it differantly. 

Have you noticed anything that you think can reliably extend a healthy life? Like frequent visits from family, a positive attitude, caring for pets/plants, etc?

Asked by CN over 6 years ago

Definitely! The main thing that helps are family visits. I have seen elderly dropped off and forgotten and go completely downhill, or they used to get visits and their families stop coming so much, there's almost always a change. I have been told that they think "my family has forgotten about me" or "they're happier without me, I was a burden to them." It is incredibly sad to see. You can be there for them as much as possible but for them to see a face that they've shared memories with, that really means the most. 

Music is another wonderful thing. I like to play music like Elvis or Conway Twitty on my iPod as I get them ready for bed. They love to hear it and will share memories that they may have with that music. I have asked if they liked a specific artist and would go home and download some on my iPod so that they can listen to it.

Anything really social is always good for them. We do games and trivia to keep them sharp. Musicians come in and play for them, socials, field trips..it's as all very good for them. The ones that don't participate tend to be more depressed. Some do have plants that they care for and pets are a close second to families! A lot of our floors have a pet and they just love it :-)

Why do you say your job is "rewarding"? How has it affected your personality for the better?

Asked by kara_lacher over 6 years ago

My job is rewarding on many levels. For starters, your team of residents becomes like a mini family. It is the only job that I don't mind working on holidays because I'm leaving my family to go to my other "family". The look of appreciation that you get for helping with even the simplest things is rewarding in itself. I love hearing stories of their lives and how the world was to them 80 years ago. The feeling you get inside is one I can't really describe, you'd have to feel it.

My job has helped me learn patience in my own life. Appreciation for time, we don't ever realize just how fast life really is. I am more fun loving and less serious about things that used to seem problematic in my life. I don't have time for senseless stress anymore :-) Most of all it has taught me to love the people in my life and let them KNOW how much I love them. To be physically present in their lives. So many times I saw the hurt in peoples eyes, when they come to say goodbye to a loved one that passed, saying how they hadn't seen their loved one in years and that they should have came sooner..while they say that I think of the times that particular elder was lonely and wanted their family there with them, but you can't go back and change time..I don't want to be the person saying those things. I want my time here to count with those I love.

Have you noticed old people getting more religious as they get older and their health fails?

Asked by Brava over 6 years ago

I see a good variance.  I have seen some elderly who weren't religous at all start praying to the lord when they know that their time is coming to an end. They'd ask forgiveness and for peace. The religous tend to become even more so as time goes on, and then there's some that never mention anything of the sort.

I know this doesn't really have to do so much with religion, but there was a psychic lady that would just randomly tell you things that happened in your past and/or will happen in your future. She was pretty on point with a lot of people..almost eerily on point. For some reason she came to mind as I typed this and I felt that I should share :-)

Do any fights break out over who's in and out of a will in front of a person who's still alive?

Asked by Cherie over 6 years ago

I have heard family members coercing an elder about where items should go, but usually that is done before they're even placed in a home when they are of more sound mind to make decisions so everything is in place.

There were two elders that were told that they weren't being placed permenantly, just a temporary setting, and family sold their homes on them. It was really sad to see the news broke to them and for them to realize that where they were at was now their permanent home.

How do you deal with client erections, or how would you?

Asked by Nash over 6 years ago

You just ignore it and pay no mind. More often than not, they can't help it. Even more often than not, they don't even realize that it's happening. The ones that do realize that it's happening are more than likely more embarrassed than I am, some have even apologized. That is the only time I acknowledge it and say "Ohh geez, don't worry about it, I'm not" or something of that nature, otherwise I simply pretend to not notice it and go about my business.

How much sex goes on in a nursing home? Are older folks active will into their 70s, and 80s?

Asked by Jonah about 6 years ago

It really depends on where you are. It does happen, but not often where I am. The people I care for aren't aware of much anymore unfortunately. In more independant care facilities I'm sure it happens more often.

So you see a lot of old people. Do you think the pursuit of a longer human lifespan is a good idea?

Asked by takeoffer123 almost 6 years ago

 

My grandmother's no longer competent and has had 24-hour care for years, and only gets about 500 calories / day from shakes we feed via syringe. How can the body survive for so long with so little nutrition?

Asked by Elie5 over 5 years ago

 

When do doctors have a duty to try and cure an old person's disease versus when it's simply not worth the resources?

Asked by Lagerfeld over 5 years ago

 

What's protocol when you have to tell a family their relative has died? Have you ever had to do that yourself and what was the first time like?

Asked by Hobbes almost 6 years ago