Karren, 51

(2/2) If you could change something about your work what would it be? “I don’t think I would change anything as far as what administrators are doing. I think most CNAs would probably disagree with me, but with the rules and regulations being the way they are, you can’t blame all the problems CNAs have on the administrators. That’s one thing I learned from NAHCA [National Association of Health Care Assistants] is you have to work hand in hand with the administrators. You can’t always be a ‘negative Nancy.’ You have to put yourself out there. If you know other CNAs are not doing their job you need to speak up and say, ‘hey, if you want to see a change, be that change.’ The biggest change that I would like to see is I think the families need to have more education. If you have someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may come in and they may complain that the family member is always wearing the same clothes, for example, and we go to take those clothes off and we trigger a whole lot of emotions and everything. Some of it may be treated with medication, but no one is asking the family what did their loved one did in the morning and in the evening. One resident, who was my biggest challenge, wouldn’t remove certain clothes. It was always a red shirt and a black pair of pants. And talking to the family we discovered that his favorite color was red and the work pants had something to do with his father. It was like a uniform type thing. Memories of his father were brought over to his clothes. So instead of arguing with the staff, the family could have brought 12 red shirts and 12 pairs of pants to him. He could have had the same outfit on but they would have been all clean and new for him. So I think the family needs to be educated about the disease that we’re trying to treat. You can’t treat the illness, you have to treat the person you’re taking care of. Otherwise, it’s not going to work out.”

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