CNA Training Skills: Providing Oral Care for Unconscious Patients

cna trainingCNA Training

Throughout CNA training, you will be instructed in how to perform a variety of different skills that will become very useful after you find employment. One of these skills will be how to perform mouth care. You will learn how to work with your patients to ensure their teeth, gums, and mouth are completely clean after every meal so they can avoid cavities, infections, and sores that could cause them pain and suffering.



However, what do you do when a patient is unconscious? These patients can’t drink or eat by themselves, and they certainly can’t assist you with their oral care after CNA training. Luckily, CNA training prepares you for this type of situation as well.


How to Provide Proper Oral Care After CNA Training


Before you begin providing oral care to your unconscious patient, you have to consider infection control. This means hand washing and the donning of gloves. Then, even though the patient is unconscious, you should greet them and briefly explain what you are going to do. Remember, the patient may still be able to hear what you are saying, even if they are unconscious. If they know you are there, who you are, and what you are doing, they will be much more comfortable.


After you have completed these steps, which you learned were the basic first steps of almost any skill during CNA training, you can move on these steps:


  • Place a towel on the patient’s chest to keep the patient from getting wet should some of the water you will be using drip. Then, raise the bed to a comfortable level and raise the head of the bed so the patient is in a more comfortable sitting position. Make sure the angle of the bed is no greater than thirty degrees, however.


  • Use a tongue depressor to gently open the patient’s mouth. As you were taught while you were in CNA training, do not ever use your fingers. If the patient is facing away from you, gently turn his head so you can access his mouth.


  • Using either a toothbrush or an oral sponge swap, begin to the clean the patient’s mouth. Only use a tiny bit of toothpaste to reduce the chance of your patient swallowing the excess after CNA training. Remember when you are cleaning to clean the gums and tongue as well, not just the teeth.


  • When you have completed the cleaning, suction all of the excess toothpaste and saliva from the mouth of your patient. Using a clean washcloth, wipe the patient’s lips, chin and neck, to remove any water that may have dripped while you were performing the oral care.


  • Remove the towel from the patient’s chest, and, as you learned during your CNA training courses, make sure no water soaked through and contaminated the patient’s clothing. If it did, you will need to change the patient’s clothes.


  • Return the bed to a comfortable position and make sure the patient is lying comfortable before you remove your gloves and wash your hands.


Oral Care After CNA Training


During CNA training, you will be taught that oral care can help prevent many mouth problems in patients, if done correctly. Make sure you know how to care for all of your patients, even those who are unconscious, after CNA training.

Leave a Reply