When you complete your CNA training, you will be asked to care for many different types of residents and patients, depending on where you decide to work. At times, you may come across patients who have difficulty communicating their wants and needs through speech. They may resort to grunts and other noises in an effort to inform you of what they need. The amount of difficulty they have with speech will most often determine whether or not you can actually understand what they are trying to tell you and how you can help them.
After CNA training, working with residents like this can be frustrating. You may want to give them exactly what they want, but you aren’t quite sure how to understand what they are asking of you.
In truth, adjusting and understanding these residents takes time. However, there are a few things you can do after CNA training classes to attempt to communicate with many of these patients.
Communicating with Patients With Speech Impairments After CNA Training
- When entering a patient’s room, always knock on the door, call out your name to introduce yourself, and then approach the patient. Make sure to approach from the front or the side so you appear to be non-threatening and respectful of their space after CNA training.
- When communicating with speech impaired patients after CNA training, keep conversations brief and to the point. Don’t expect them to carry on a complete conversation about their day.
- Use simple questions with yes or no answers. Patients who are unable to speak at all may still be able to answer these questions with a nod or shake of their head or a blink of their eyes. Questions like “Are you comfortable?” or “Are you hungry?” are easy to answer for speech impaired patients, and can be followed by similar questions, like “Does this pillow need moved?” or “Would you like chicken for dinner?”
- Be patient with patients after CNA training. If they have trouble speaking, they may find it difficult to answer your questions right away, even if they understand what you are asking. Allow plenty of time for them to answer.
- Many hospitals and nursing homes have communication tools you can use to speak with your residents. Tools like picture boards, scrabble tiles, note pads and pencils, and even flash cards can make communication much easier for a resident. You can make up your own tools as well. If charades works for you and the patient, and they are comfortable with it, use it.
- Sometimes you might think you understand what your patient wants or needs after CNA training, but you aren’t quite sure. If this is the case, repeat what they say back to you to show you understand, smile, and be reassuring.
- Don’t pretend you understand what the patient need if you truly don’t. After CNA training, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you know another aide has an easier time understanding what the patient says, have them help you learn how to communicate more effectively with the patient after CNA training.
Working With Speech-Impaired Patients After CNA Training
After CNA training, working with speech impaired patients can be difficult and even frustrating. By taking the time to work with them, communicating with simple questions, using tools, and having the right attitude, however, you can ensure you can communicate more effectively with these types of patients after CNA training.