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How Certified Nursing Assistants Can Make Nighttime Care Giving Easier

There are several health conditions that can bring about residents to get up during the night. Illnesses and medical conditions such as an overactive bladder, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain and insomnia are just a few that might have an effect on residents and cause them to awaken multiple times during the night.

There are fortunately ways for Certified Nursing Assistant to employ different strategies to make nighttime care giving easier and more effective.  These tips can potentially minimizing sleep interruption for residents being cared for. Here are some tips to help, based on the reason a senior gets up during the night.

Tips for CNAs to Make Nighttime Care giving Easier

Frequent urination
If a resident in your care previously slept through the night, but now suddenly has begun getting up to use the bathroom frequently, you need to inform the nurse on staff.   The nurse can make an order for the resident to make sure that they don’t have a urinary tract infection or some other treatable condition.  Elderly individuals often do not process pain warning signs the way that younger individuals do.  Because of this, they may not communicate having discomfort with urination even if they have a problem.

Chronic pain
The aging process can bring along with it a full host of aches and pains.  Some of these troublesome complaints can make it more problematical for residents to get comfortable in bed and stay asleep through the night.

Certified Nursing Assistant can help residents with pain that is ongoing by using pillows, foam mattress toppers and in some cases by just adjusting the bed to help residents find a more comfortable sleeping position.  This may be through the process of trial-and-error.  You may have to tuck pillows between the knees, behind the back to help them discover what combination relieves their discomfort.

Alzheimer’s disease
Many residents who suffer with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia may engage in rummaging behavior and wandering during the night. Some theories suggest rummaging can be linked to anxiety, but these behavior can have any number of triggers. Certified Nursing Assistants might not be able to remove these behaviors entirely, however, you can attempt to handle the condition and get residents to return to bed by:

  • Creating a rummage bag. Items can include clothing, like socks
  • When wandering occurs switch the focus to another activity
  • Make sure to have a quiet environment with minimal background noise
  • Develop a consistent routine of care or assistance

You may think that insomnia only refers to being wide awake all night, However, this is not the case. From a Clinical standpoint, insomnia actually refers to any type of chronically disrupted sleep. This can includes periods of frequent waking among residents.

Residents you tend to stay in bed all day have a higher rate of insomnia.  The lack of exercise along with frequent napping and medications help contribute to residents not being able to sleep all night.

Certified Nursing Assistants can encourage residents to get involved in more of the day and evening activities provided to them.  This can also decrease the need in frequently napping most of the day.  This in return can help residents lessen the chance of having insomnia.

Certified Nursing Assistants Nighttime Safety Tips for All Resident Conditions

No matter the reason why resident are up during the night, the CNA should consider several general safety practices to avoid falls or other accidents from occurring. This means doing a walk through of the residents room before leaving.