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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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 3 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.

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

Asked by Ed over 3 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. 

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 3 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 3 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 3 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. 

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 3 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. 

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 about 3 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 :-)