Resident safety involves providing proper care to the patient to keep him safe.
For this purpose, the nursing assistant should ensure that the resident’s environment is safe:
- Ensure that the patient’s environment does not include slippery floors or objects on the floor that may cause falls.
- Ensure that the proper patient receives the proper medicine, this includes checking name tags and medicine labels before administering medicines.
- Ensure electrical outlets and wires are not damaged or malfunctioning.
- Ensure that the staff knows about a fire safety plan and knows how to operate fire extinguishers.
Resident safety also involves noting and informing any changes that occur in a patient. Each patient shows different symptoms of illness according to age and other factors. Therefore, it is important for nursing assistants to be attentive to the changes that occur in a resident at any point in time.
The nursing assistant should watch for physical and non-physical changes in a resident such as:
- Movement: A change in movement such as poor balance, walking with wider steps, shifting balance to one side, indicate that the resident is at risk for falls, or he may be experiencing pain.
- Bowel patterns or urination: If the patient experiences constipation or urinary incontinence, it may indicate dehydration or some other medical condition such as kidney failure.
- Appearance: Changes in the skin should be reported immediately as it may indicate infection, dehydration, or an illness that needs prompt attention. For instance, the resident may have a puffy or swollen skin, rashes on body, red or darkened skin (indicating the resident is bed sore), or dry and cracked lips.
- Activity level: A resident may suddenly feel weak and there may be a decrease in his activity level which calls for immediate attention. Sudden weakness may also be a sign of stroke.
- Vital signs: Change in temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate should be noted and informed immediately, as it may indicate an illness.
- Appetite: Changes in appetitecan indicate stomach problems, dental problems or sometimes even depression.
- Sleeping: Poor sleep may indicate anxiety or depression. Medications, chronic problems, pneumonia, can also change sleeping patterns.
The first step for a nursing assistant is to promptly report any such changes to the supervisor. This will ensure that the resident gets prompt medical attention and also protect them from further harm or injury. The nursing assistant should also get information on what should be done and what should be avoided when providing care, to prevent the resident’s condition from becoming serious.