Taking the patient’s vital signs and measuring health, weight as well as documenting them accurately are some of the important duties of the CNA. These duties ensure health maintenance and restoration of the patient.
Proper documentation of vital signs and weight measurements is crucial as it indicates the overall health condition of a patient. Vital signs indicate if the patient’s temperature, blood pressure, heart rate are normal. Factors such as age, gender, food intake, activity levels, medication can impact the patient’s vital signs. Therefore, any abnormal rise or fall in the vital signs, as well as the patient’s weight, should be immediately reported, so that they receive prompt care.
Changes in weight should be immediately reported as they could indicate obesity, malnutrition, fluid retention or any other illness. A change in the height could also indicate a problem in the musculoskeletal system. It should also be noted that a change in one vital sign such as temperature is likely to affect other vital signs. For instance, a patient with fever is likely to have an increased pulse rate. A proper documentation of these changes will help the physician determine the right plan of care for the patient.
The CNA should use the following guidelines when measuring the vital signs, height, and weight of the patient:
- Explain to the patient what you are going to do, before taking the measurements.
- Ensure that the patient has not consumed any hot liquid at the time of taking the temperature. This can indicate a wrong recording. The best practice is to wait for at least 15 minutes before taking the measurements.
- Ensure that the patient’s weight is recorded according to the facility protocols. For instance, the weight measurements can be affected by articles, shoes, and clothing on the patient’s body.