Does CNA Training Prepare You for Dealing with Death?

cna trainingCNA training is designed to properly equip nursing assistants for every aspect of their upcoming career. One vital factor these classes may not fully prepare a CNA for, though, is the death of a patient. This can be very difficult for even the most seasoned nursing assistant. If you have completed your CNA training, you may be wondering how to deal with the death of one of your residents. Here is some helpful advice.

Can CNA Training Prepare You For the Actual Event?

Before beginning CNA training, it is important to understand how important it is to have a strong personality for this job. A strong, emotionally healthy personality will help you overcome many different aspects of your career –such as death, dealing with the emotions or anger of a patient, and dealing with the everyday stress of your CNA career. It is also important to have compassion and kindness toward patients, no matter what the circumstance. These qualities can not be taught in your CNA training, but are possessed by some of the best CNAs, and are vital when addressing the subject of death.

There are a variety of subjects CNA training covers through clinical studies, demonstrations, and textbook reading, including death. While these sources are a helpful and a necessary part of any CNA training, they can not fully prepare you for the actual death of a patient you have cared for and grown close to. They can, however, provide you with the necessary tools to help your patient prepare for death, and also help you cope with the loss of the resident.

CNA Training & Dealing With the Death of a Patient

Dealing with the death of a patient can involve a few different stages and will be different for every CNA. The location of your work, whether it be a hospital or nursing home, will also affect how you deal with the deal of one of your residents.

  • Helping patients cope with impending death- Some patients may be ready to face the afterlife, but others may not be so willing to let go. As a CNA, you will be responsible for listening to their concerns, supporting their feelings, and helping them cope with their fear, anger, or depression. You will also be responsible for keeping them as comfortable as possible during their last days on earth. During the last few days of a patient’s life, you may be asked to check on them more frequently, take vital signs and ensure they are comfortable.
  • CNA Training and Post-mortem Care- For many CNAs, the hardest part of dealing with the death of a beloved resident is having to take care of them after they have passed. As you’ve learned in your CNA training, nursing assistants are often responsible for post-mortem care of the bodies, which involves bathing the body and placing the deceased in a clean gown or pair of clothes so the family can view the body before it is taken.
  • CNA Training and The Five Stages- Just like with every other loss in your life, you will most likely experience the five stages of grief, or at least some of the stages. Many nursing assistants and patients will work through these stages- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance- during the last stages of a patient’s life and afterward. This is normal, and your feelings can be, and should be, shared with your administrator or director of nursing.

There is no science to dealing with the death of a patient. Being prepared involves taking the right CNA training, along with continuing education classes that can help both you and your patients deal with death.

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