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Preventing Elder Abuse
The elderly are especially vulnerable to abuse or neglect. The C.N.A training program was designed to address the needs of the elderly in order to avoid any unintended abuse or neglect. Without proper training a caregiver can cause harm and not understand what they have done wrong.

Some people are more vulnerable to adult abuse or neglect than others.

They include the:

  • Physically ill or disabled
  • Developmentally disabled
  • Mentally ill or disabled
  • People with communication problems, such as hearing, speech, and vision

All of these people have a few things in common that make them so vulnerable. They are often unable to stand up for themselves, or report abuse or neglect to others. They may not even understand that they have rights. Often these people can be much more demanding to care for, which increases the stress that a CNA has to deal with. With stress can come impatient, anger and depression.

An CNA may not have been properly trained to care for these particular people, and they may not understand why these people behave the way they do. The CNA may also be overworked, tired, stressed, and unappreciated, on top of caring for someone who requires so much time and energy.

These are the people who most need your help in protecting themselves. They may not be able to speak for themselves, but the signs of abuse and neglect may speak volumes for them, if you just know how to recognize these signs.

Signs that could indicate neglect:

  •  pressure sores
  • unclean body
  • body lice
  • unanswered call lights
  • unchanged soiled linens or incontinence briefs
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • dehydration
  • no fresh water or beverages available

Giving proper care to residents can decrease the residents stress, agitation, and aggression towards the CNA This can make giving care to a resident much easier for the CNA and the resident.

Things that can decrease a resident's agitation or aggression:

  •  Keep a call light within reach
  • Answer the call light promptly
  • Ambulate the resident when they are restless
  • Encourage activities and independence.
  • Offer food and drink
  • Decrease the noise level.
  • Offer individual time to talk with a CNA
  • Give frequent help with toileting

When you show a resident that you respect them they will respect you. Sometimes a CNA will forget that their resident is a person that needs patience, understanding and to be heard. With a shortage of trained help many CNA's are overwhelmed by their work load and become too busy to take time to listen to their residents. If a resident needs extra attention, schedule a time in your day to meet with them and talk. When a resident feel that they are being heard they will be ready to understand the situation at hand and find patience to give you.

Ways to show residents respect and gain their respect:

  • Always knock on a resident's door before entering
  • Ask permission to open drawers or closet doors.
  • Ask the resident what they would like to do
  • Give them privacy with phone calls or visitors
  • Treat their belongings respectfully
  • Listen when they speak to you
  • Try to do things the way they would like them done

Frustration is an easy trap to fall into in today's busy over worked society. Your residents need you to slow down and be patient. Many residents you will care for are fragile. We must understand and give care in a slow, safe, and gentle way. Remember, some day someone could be caring for your mother, grandmother, father, or you.

Remember, as a licensed CNA if you witness abuse and do not report it and it is discovered that you know about the abuse, you are as guilty as the abuser and will loose your license.

If you feel uncomfortable reporting any abuse or neglect to your employer you can call the Ombudsman. Every nursing home or assistant living facility is assigned an Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is an advocated for the resident and employees. The Ombudsman's picture, address, phone number and any other information will be posted in the common area of each facility. When you call the Ombudsman anytime and they will respond within 24 hours. You will have to give your name but when they come into the facility they will not use your name.

As a CNA you have been charged with an awesome responsibility. You're residents are relying on you to keep them comfortable safe and secure. Don't let them down.



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