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Aide training days

September 14, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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Two new aides started a couple of weeks ago. Because my care routine takes time and organization, many aides train with me first. I am usually nervous when I direct them on the routines that work best for me. I do not want to seem demanding, but they do need to familiarize themselves with what needs to be done.

I think it is difficult learning and doing care on residents they just met. Since the younger aide worked in housekeeping and dietary here, she knows who we are. While a few residents can express their needs, some cannot and their aide has to take over and do their care.

The younger aide was assigned my wash-up routine shortly after she started. The aide who trained her gathered my personal-care items together for her. When the younger aide took over, she did fine and we got along well. She knows that after she gets used to me and my routine, she has to work on picking up speed.

The other new aide is older and has worked in healthcare for years. She told me she also took care of her aging parents before their deaths. She is closer to my age and we can relate. We enjoy talking, which I always think makes the day go better. Chatting during mealtime makes it more enjoyable. But I also have to make sure that she is able to talk and work at the same time so she does not get behind in her schedule. Aides are trained to talk to us while they do our care; but they quickly learn that they need to complete a resident's care and move on to the next task.

I think it would be ideal if nurse aide training in clinical care is done with residents—at least two hours each day. Although aides are trained to do hospital corners, pericare, mouth care and tooth brushing, they learn how a nursing home is run by working with residents.

Aides who do their jobs well will be challenged to find time for breaks and lunch. However, by prioritizing, it is possible to find some time for themselves during their workday.

After three days of prompting new aides about my care process step by step, my brain was tired. I am grateful for the veteran aides who know my care routine, and can easily do it while I mentally organize my tasks for the day.

At the end of their first workday both of the new aides looked worn out. I bet their heads were spinning on the way home. The older aide asked me if I thought she should take notes. I shared that one aide keeps notes and refers to them frequently, while other aides do not.

Although training new aides is challenging, it does help me to change and adapt my care routine.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...