During your CNA training, you will learn about different ailments, like contractures, that may affect your residents. You will also be taught how to help your residents avoid these problems and deal with them if they do happen to occur. Once you complete your CNA training, you will be expected to take this knowledge out into the world and use it on a daily basis to improve the lives of your residents.
CNA Training Refresher: What are Contractures?
When the muscles and tendons in an individual’s body are not used for long periods at a time, they begin to break down and stiffen. Because of this, the affect limb begins to become rigid and slowly pull toward the individual’s body. This is known as a contracture, and it can occur in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. The condition is very painful, and preventing contractures is much easier than restoring function to the affected limb once a contracture has occurred. As a CNA training graduate, this is your responsibility.
After CNA Training: Preventing Contractures
After CNA training, you will find that helping your residents and patients avoid contractures is a constant battle. While it may be difficult, it is not an impossible ailment to prevent, especially if you follow these three tips.
- ROM- Range of Motion exercises, or ROM, are exercises every CNA learns how to perform during CNA training. These exercises should be performed by CNAs every day and can easily prevent contractures from occurring. However, many CNA training graduates forget they are responsible for ROM care, either because they believe the physical therapist will take care of it or they feel rushed by the fast pace of the job and don’t take the time to do the exercises.
By making ROM care a daily habit during the patient’s morning, bedtime, or even toileting routine, you can prevent contractures. If your patient refuses ROM care, explain to them the seriousness of contractures and the reason ROM is necessary. If they still refuse, speak to your supervisor. He or she may be able to speak to the patient and explain why he needs ROM exercises.
- Positioning- A resident’s positioning in a nursing home or hospital is extremely important when preventing contractures. If a resident is sitting in a chair, their feet should not be left to dangle. Their feet should sit on a flat surface to keep their toes from contracting. When the resident is sleeping, a pillow should be placed between their legs to prevent them from sleeping with their legs bents.
- Splinting- If limbs are starting to contract, splints like wrist splints, knee braces, elbow braces, and boots can be used to keep fingers, toes, and arms from drawing up toward the body. These braces will keep the resident’s joints from contracting, but will still allow them free range of motion.
During your CNA training, you will learn that contractures are ailments that can develop quickly when residents suffer from inactivity due to physical or mental limitations. Preventing them is important, as restoration of the muscles and joints can be very painful once contractures do occur.