Nursing Assistants are a distinct set of individuals who are committed to providing patients with the best possible care. They make every attempt to ensure their basic needs are met. They often go above and beyond to provide patients and their families comfort. They are trained to work hard, multi-task, and assist Nurses with any type of emergency that may come up during any given day. However, their primary focus is to help others feel better. Having to deal with the reality of dying and death can be very difficult for Nursing Assistants, especially for those without much experience with the profession.
|Dealing with the subject of dying and death pertains to any field of the medical profession. It is even more frequent if you are within a critical care or elderly care facility. This issue should be taken very seriously before a Nursing Assistant accepts a position in such a facility.
A Nursing Assistant will be forced to experience many things going on during this time, both with the patient and with their family members, especially since all people view death differently. For those who are very spiritual, praying and possibly figures from their Church will be a part of the experience. For those that are afraid to die, it may be a fight for every last breath trying to hold on. It is important to respect the wishes of the patient and the family during dying and death.
Some Nursing Assistants are distressed when they have to deal with dying and death. They feel this is not what they thought the job would be. They signed up to help people. However, Nursing Assistants can be a valuable source of comfort and compassion for patients and their families during those last moments. It is up to you to keep the patient comfortable. Their mouths become very parched. Even if they don't appear coherent, attempt to give them continuous sips of water or ice chips. If the lips should begin to crack, apply Chap Stick or Vaseline to prevent soreness.
Caring for patient who is dying requires you to remember details about them from before they became so ill. For example, if a patient often asked to be turned because of soreness, continue to rotate their position. Be aware of their body temperature and adjust bedding, air conditioning, and heating as needed. It is common for a person to become cold in the hours before death, so it is important to keep them as comfortable as possible.
Nursing Assistants should be familiar with some signs of death which include the loss of muscle tone, the slowing of circulation, changes in breathing, and blurred vision. It is imperitive that the Nursing Assistant document such changes in the patient's chart and immediately notify the charge Nurse of the situation.
When dealing with a patient who is dying, the Nursing Assistant can help make the process easier for the patient. Sufficient pain relievers should be administered as needed to reduce the pain. Play music that the patient enjoys. Think about reading them a favorite book or Bible passages. Sometimes holding their hand provides that extra comfort needed. A Nursing Assistant can peform this role. Often, Nursing Assistants can depend on one another to help cope with the situation. If you are having difficulty after dealing with the dying and death of one of your patients, many employers also offer counseling services. When dealing with patients on a regular basis, it is often easy to become attached to patients. Your employer understands this, and will want to help you feel better in your role as a Nursing Assistant.