While most CNA's that care for elders are good people, there are instances of abuse. Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, exploitative, negligent, and can even include abandonment. Intimidation is also considered abuse.
The conditions of caring for others on a daily basis can be very stressful. Many CNAs work long hours and there may be a moment in which a person "snaps" and acts unintentionally. Unfortunately, there are also those that have the attitude of "it's just a job," and they really don't care about how they treat someone as long as they don't get caught and can still collect a check.
What I'm sharing with you, is based only on my experience and is not representative of the whole industry.
The first place I worked after school was a large facility that was mostly assisted living. The resident per CNA ratio was overbearing. My trainer showed me around the floor and worked with me for a week in caring for my clients. He really was a nice guy, and the elders loved him. When he walked in the room, they smiled. He was very caring and gentle.
After that first week, I was on my own. I found myself struggling with getting everything done I was supposed to do for each person. I had to wake them up, take their vitals, change them, wash them, clean up the shower after them, groom them, and possibly change them again. I talked to another CNA and asked her how they managed to do all that needed to be done properly. What I was told was pretty upsetting. She said to skip various duties and just to make up vitals that sound okay. I asked if everyone did this and she just looked at me and said that it was the only way to get the work done. I did not report her specifically but did say something to the nurse in charge and from that day forward I was ostracized. Oh well...I did what I thought was the right thing to do. I did wind up leaving that location after while due to a daily conflict of interest. It was apparent I didn't fit there.
The next facility I worked at was an expensive, private location that had a long waiting list. I was hired on to be an activity person for an Alzheimer/Dementia Unit. The group of people I worked with, were called the Sundowners.
What I saw at this facility was disgusting. Many CNAs were on their cell phones while feeding the resident or talking to each other across the room, completely ignoring the person they were supposed to be caring for. Some CNAs actually ate the person's food instead of feeding them.
Often, blind people in wheelchairs were just whisked off to another location without being told they were going to be moved. People would sit in soiled diapers. To add to that, when the State was coming in for an inspection, the employees were tipped off by management to clean up. It was a very frustrating and stressful situation. My pleas to management fell on deaf ears. I wound up leaving that place also and the industry.
I felt like a protector of my group of Sundowners. While I was not their CNA, I was looking out for them in a different way. I really enjoyed my group of people. I became very attached to them. While they suffered from Alzheimer's or other Dementia, they were very kind, loving people. I saw many come and go over my time at that facility. I have many memories of that period and decided to write five short stories about...Ms. Dobbs, a Southern Belle, Joe, the Shadow Boxer, The Quiet Lady Speaks, The Deterioration of Robert, and Romance with Alzheimer's.
If you missed part one, read it here.
Next: Being a Certified Nursing Assistant Part 3: Ms. Dobbs a Southern Bell