Guest post by Mandarae Warner, CNA, Southland Home Care
I’ve been a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for just over ten years. I have worked in many different health care settings but it wasn’t until two years ago that I got into home health. After working at Southland Home Care for a few months, I finally, for the first time in my career, started to really experience the rewards of being a CNA. A unique aspect of being a home health care CNA is that you have more quality time with each patient because it’s one-on-one. When you visit a patient in their home you get to know them more as a person and not just a patient. You often get to know their families and supporters as well. Every patient has a different situation and you get to determine what works best for that patient and how to improve their quality of life in the comfort of their own home. This is so rewarding to me. Working in the home health setting has allowed me to work closely with all types of health care providers, including: nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers.
As a CNA, I am the member of the care team that is actively involved with each aspect of the patient’s care plan. Yes, my main duty is to help the patients with their personal hygiene and some odds and ends around their home, but it doesn’t end there. There are many times I have to coordinate a patient’s visits with the different staff so that I can have the patient ready to go, whether it’s for a dressing change or therapy. I also report directly to the nurse caring for that patient on any progress or changes that I may find.
Communicating with the therapists involved in each patient’s care helps me understand any limitations a patient may have and learn what activities they are actually capable of doing for themselves. This is essential as some patients may take advantage of having a CNA there to help them. I recently was able to work closely with the physical therapists for a home exercise program. I was so excited to become even more crucial in my patients recovery. In this program, I helped the patient maintain their overall strength once the patient had reached all therapy goals. This means the therapist would not see the patient as often and I would get to do the exercises that the therapist assigned to keep up the patient’s strength.
My career changed dramatically when I started working in home health. I feel this is such a great fit for me because it is so rewarding. I currently participate in Southland’s Performance Improvement Team, Maintenance Therapy Program, Ortho Program and Professional Advisory Committee. Healthcare is ever-changing and I know my role as a CNA will always be critical to proper patient care and fast recovery. Southland Home Care has continued to show my fellow CNAs and I that we are part of the care team and we often know more about our patients than anyone else on the team because of the care we give. I am proud to be a CNA and a part of the Southland team.