Patient and Caregiver Resources

CNAs: Certified Nursing Assistants Lighten the Load

Mom smiles at her teenage daughter, now freshly bathed, dressed, and snuggled in her wheelchair under her favorite Moana blanket. As a hardworking caregiver with little outside help, Mom counts on Salome Tice, the family’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) from Delaware Hospice, to get the girl ready in the morning. They’re Salome’s first stop every day, five days a week.

Cleanliness and grooming are important for an individual’s sense of dignity. But when serious illness strikes, personal care can be challenging for patients and their caregivers. That’s where our CNAs come in. As integral members of our home-based hospice and palliative care teams, CNAs visit patients to assist with bathing, dressing, and other aspects of personal care.

“Caregiving is one of the hardest things to do emotionally and physically,” said Tice, who has been with Delaware Hospice for more than 12 years. “As CNAs, we’re there for a very short of amount of time compared to the scope of what a family caregiver provides. But we try to help, to ease the burden a little.”

On any given day, Salome cares for six to seven patients. Depending on their needs, patients may be scheduled for one to five CNA visits per week. No matter what a person’s mobility or conditions are, Salome knows how to bathe and care for them, whether that means giving them a bed bath, a bath in their recliner, a bath at the kitchen sink, or a shower. She can even change the bedsheets with the patient in the bed.

Today, Salome’s next stop gets a bed bath. When Salome is finished dressing the woman and changing the sheets, she’s sure to better position the women in bed. Salome knows that bed-bound patients have a tendency to slide down the mattress, and it’s hard for this woman’s elderly husband to move her.

After grabbing something quick to eat at Wawa, Salome helps with two more showers, one for a woman living with her son, the other for an older man living alone. Before she leaves the older man’s home, she makes sure he has something to drink nearby. Another patient cancelled his visit for today, so Salome helps out the team by visiting two new patients instead. One of the new patients was just released from the hospital. He doesn’t want a bath, so Salome helps him get settled and put away his discharge papers.

Salome’s last patient of the afternoon now gets a visit five days a week. Salome notices that the woman is having more pain than before and that a patch of skin isn’t looking good, so she alerts the patient’s nurse. As an extra set of eyes and ears entering the home, CNAs play an important role letting other team members know about patient and family needs.

When you see Salome in action, “angel” is one of the first words that comes to mind. Like all of our CNAs, she embodies the compassion and expertise that Delaware Hospice is known for.

For more information about Delaware Hospice’s all-star home-based hospice and palliative care teams, call us at call us at 302.478.5707.

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