CNA Training Skill: Performing Range of Motion Exercises

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CNA Training

After CNA training, performing passive range of motion on your patients will be an important part of your daily nursing assistant duties. It is a skill you will learn to perform during CNA training, and is an essential part of determining the patient’s recovery progress and can also reduce the number of complications that can occur when a patient has stiff joints.




Although range of motion exercises may be one of the simplest skills you will learn during CNA training, they must be performed correctly in order to be effective.

When to Perform Range of Motion After CNA Training


While range of motion exercises can be performed at any time after CNA training, it can be difficult to find the time when you are working with multiple patients each and every day. However, it is essential to your patient’s health, so it is important to find the time. The best way to do this is to perform the exercises while you are performing other duties.


You can help your patients with passive range of motion during their bath, bed bath, and even while you are getting them dressed or undressed after CNA training.


For patients who are bed-bound, range of motion exercises should be performed at least one time every day to ensure the patient’s joints don’t become contracted. Contractures often occur when a patient doesn’t move their joints enough, and may be preceded by stiffness and an inability to move the joint.


Performing Range of Motion After CNA Training


  • Greet the patient, introduce yourself, and explain that you will be helping them perform the range of motion exercises. Explain why these exercises are important for their health and answer any questions they might have.


  • Wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of infection and then raise the bed until it is waist-high. This will provide you with full access to the patient and will prevent back injuries from occurring.


  • As long as the patient does not have a spinal cord injury or neck injury, you should begin the range of motion exercises with your patient’s head. Have the patient turn his or her head from side to side, or assist them if they are unable to do so.


  • The exercises should be performed on the arms. Flex and extend both of the patient’s arms at the elbow. Then, have the patient bring one arm toward their body, as if they are crossing their arms, and then move the arm back away from their body. Repeat this ten times and then do the same with the other arm. Then, have the patient flex their wrist and wiggle their fingers ten times a piece.


  • Next, move to the patient’s legs. Ask the patient to extend and flex both of their knees, one at a time. Then, have them move their legs toward the center of their body and then back toward the bed. As you learned in CNA training, this should be performed ten times for each leg.


While you are performing this important CNA training skill, think back to what you learned during your CNA training classes. While it may be difficult, you need to be gentle and firm at the same time. If you are too soft, you won’t provide the patient with what he needs. However, if you are too rough, you could harm him. When you are unsure, take a deep breath and remember you know what you are doing. You learned exactly what was needed in CNA training and you can do it now.


Once you done with the exercises, make sure the patient is comfortable, answer any questions, and wash your hands thoroughly.


Range of motion exercise are an essential part of caring for your patients and ensuring their health. Make sure these exercises are perform regularly after CNA training.




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