One of the more challenging aspects of working in a nursing home or aged care facility that you will learn about in CNA training is communicating with patients or residents with dementia. In certain circumstances it can be as confronting and confusing for you as it is for the patient. CNA training can help you to acquire the necessary skills for dealing with disorientated or distressed patients or residents; this includes those affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s.
What You’ll Learn in CNA Training
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a chronic or persistent mental process disorder that can be caused by brain disease or injury. Dementia is marked by personality alteration, memory disorders and impaired reasoning. Dementia typically affects elderly or aged individuals but it can manifest from 40 onwards. CNA training will help you to deal with the confronting issues that may arise from dealing with individuals with degenerative mental disorders.
What are the stages of dementia?
Dementia has 3 distinct stages:
- Short term memory loss
- Poor concentration and attention spans
- Irritability and negative behavioral changes
- Carelessness and flippant attitude towards personal habits
- Poor judgement and reasoning
- Sleeps but gets days and nights confused
- Still able to feed self
- May need help getting started eating
- Some Moderate problems sleeping
- May forget family and friends
- Difficulty articulating feelings and instructions
- Restlessness and extreme irritability
- Occasional incontinence
- Reduced impulse control
- Extreme disorientation and confusion
- Apathetic or completely dependent on help
- Incontinent and unable to undertake toileting independently
- Extreme difficulty speaking and formulating ideas
- Severe sleep problems
- Difficulty swallowing and eating generally
How can I help a patient with dementia?
Communication with disorientated or confused patients or resident’s can be extremely challenging but there are strategies that you will learn in CNA training and further study that will help you to bridge the communication divide. It is important to employ safe communications tactics. Remember to:
- Approach the resident from the front
- Sit or stand directly in front of the patient or resident
- Maintain eye contact
- Try to keep the background noise minimal
- Use short sentences
- Stay calm and speak gently
- Simplify your speech but do not use baby talk as it may offend or agitate the resident.
- Do not direct contradict the resident or argue with them.
- Be aware of your body language and avoid combative stances
- Allow the resident time to answer
- Use the resident’s name
- Focus on feeling instead of facts
- Ask one question at a time
What are the applicable CNA training skills?
CNA training not only covers specific aged care issues but also covers such related topics as general communication, safe work practices and documentation and observation of CNA and patient interactions.
Where can I go for more information?
Your CNA training course will provide you with applicable materials but for additional information you can check out the resources that independent dementia advocate groups and assistance programs may be able to off you. Also after CNA training your employer will have training and staff guideline manuals that will detail in some depth your workplace’s specific rules and suggestions for dealing with most challenging situations.