The human body is a combination of flesh and blood. As such, emotions and attachments are indispensable parts of our nature. When the creator sends us into this world, we have to encounter many things in our lives. Some may be bad, while others may be good. Life simply throws many things to us. Reacting to different situations will depend a lot on our mental and emotional health. On the personal front, we have our family members and relatives to help us in bearing with the loss we have suffered. However, when we have to deal with something unlucky and painful experience like dying and death regularly in our profession, it takes lots of nerves to handle those situations.
We are addressing to the healthcare profession where nursing assistants contribute a lot in patients’ well-being and health. They have to face many situations while working in a healthcare setting. There will be times when you will feel immensely satisfied seeing a patient under your care recovered completely and happily leaving the treatment centre. At times, you may also have to deal with the death of patient you have been caring so long. No person will ever rejoice seeing someone slipping into the hands of death. And, nursing assistants have no immunization to these natural feelings. With due respect to human nature, CNA training covers a topic that focuses on helping nursing assistants with dying and death.
Though the training prepares you to deal with a subject like dying and death, as a new joiner you will not have all the strength and courage to digest a fact that someone is dying in front of you. Since life and death is not under humans’ control, you can at the most work in eliminating the pain a dying patient goes through.
It is not that death only strikes to patients in an intensive care unit or aged-care facility. It can take its toll on anyone and everywhere. It can also take away the life of someone young and healthy person who has recovered and about to leave for home. Therefore, nursing assistants have to deal with dying and death in a matured manner while taking care of patients not going to survive for long.
You will have to work with the family members and patients respecting their values and belief in life and death. Some patients and their relatives may seek help from the Church. Such patients and their relatives may request to allow them in offering prayer to their god, and other patients will not give up their fight so easily. During such a critical time, you will have to honour, respect their faith and wishes, and act accordingly.
When you are looking after a patient whose life is going to end, you need to be more caring. As a nursing assistant, you can provide all the support and care to the patients and their family members. You can help the family in preparing for the inevitable. You can encourage them to do something the patient would like. Fulfilling a wish of a dying person will ensure that soul will rest in peace after he/she closes eyes.
CNAs’ responsibility is to make patients comfortable no matter whether they have recovered or about to die. You will have to understand their needs since they will not be in a condition to demand it. When you see their mouth dries up, you should give them few sips of water on a regular interval. During the dryness of the mouth, lips will get cracked. You can apply Vaseline to prevent and recover from the cracks.
Patients who are not going to live longer need special care. You should treat them like a king or a queen. They should feel like the world is bowing to them. Shift them on their beds to prevent bedsores, monitor their body temperature and adjust the air conditioner as needed. You must understand that cold will catch a person a few hours before death. Therefore, monitor their body temperature and make them comfortable by providing enough warmness.
Remember, death is a painful process. It is your job to make it as easy as possible. A dying patient can get relief in listening to a passage from a Bible. You can read it to them, or you can just hold their hand to comfort them. You may also need to administer medications to lessen their pain.
Getting attached to patients is all in nursing jobs. No one can deny or object it. Your role as a nursing assistant would be to provide comfort to the patient even when he/she is about to breathe the last. These tips to help in dying and death in CNA jobs will help all the nursing assistants to handle the painful experience by keeping their calm and posture.