While you were in CNA training you learned how fragile a patient’s skin can be and how easily it tears. Once you are out in the work force, a good part of your time will be spent trying to keep from tearing your patient’s skin while you are caring for him or her. If you know why the skin is so thin or brittle, it will help you determine the best way to keep from harming it.
CNA Training Topic Review
Depending on the age of the patient, there could be a number of reasons why his or her skin tears so easily. You probably learned these while in CNA training but it is good to review.
- Soap and too frequent washing – No matter what the age, washing too frequently with soap that dries the skin can leave it brittle.
- Medications – Some medications can cause the skin to become very dry.
- Lack of fluids- Any time a patient becomes dehydrated or after losing blood, their skin will become sallow and dry and tear easily.
- Age – As we age our skin loses its elasticity and the ability to produce the oils that will keep it supple and firm.
A Few Things you may not have Learned in CNA Training to Prevent Skin Tears
During CNA training you were told to be gentle and careful with your patients. Your instructor showed you how to lift a patient and not drag them across a sheet. You were told to make sure that nothing rubbed their skin to keep it from causing harm. Now that you have finished CNA training you will be spending more time with the patients and have access to other ways to help them. When you have a patient you know has skin that will tear easily, try some of the following to reduce the number of tears they receive.
- Put a humidifier in the room – Unless there is a problem that prohibits having excess moisture in the air, a humidifier can help with dry skin.
- Use lotions – Apply moisturizing lotion to their skin if it is permitted. Use a lotion that does not contain any alcohol or fragrances.
- Keep them hydrated – Make sure there is always water available for them to drink. Keeping them hydrated goes a long way in keeping their skin supple.
- Wash them with warm water – Water that is too hot or too cold will inhibit natural oil production. Be sure to use moisturizer after every bath.
- Keep the room temperature a bit cool – Warmer air will dry the skin easier.
Of course, you will still be sure to be careful the way you were taught in CNA training anytime you are dealing with your patients. Make sure anything that might come in contact with a patient is not sharp or jagged. Sometimes friends and relatives bring gifts that could be harmful if not used with care. Use good manners anytime you ask permission to look over any of your patient’s belongings. If they do not give permission, look at it and try to access if it is dangerous or not, but do not touch it. At all times keep the professionalism you were taught in CNA training.
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