Selecting A Certified Nurse’s Aide

by Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC

Mother fractured her hip while dancing at the Senior Center!

Even though Mother declined significantly both physically and mentally as a result of her fall and subsequent hospitalization, Mark, our father, wanted to take care of her himself when she came home.  He strongly objected to having someone move in with them.  He knew that person would be invading their privacy.  She would sleep on the pull-out bed in his home-office, denying him free access to his beloved television, his desk and his lounge chair.

But the powers that be at the hospital simply would not allow Mother to go home without a live-in Certified Nurse’s Aide in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Freda, the woman we eventually hired, was the niece of my parents’ trusted housekeeper and a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA).  We hired Freda privately and paid her social security and workers’ compensation to protect her and my parents.

Freda was not exactly a gourmet chef, but she cooked well enough.  She did the marketing, light housekeeping and laundry.  Most importantly, she assisted Mother with dressing, bathing and personal care.  She supervised Mother throughout the day, both in the house and outside.  She took her on walks and to the programs at the Senior Center.

Freda kept Mother and Mark safe and comfortable day and night.  She communicated with me regularly regarding their activities.  Freda looked after our parents for the next three and a half years, until they became so frail that one person alone could not take care of them both.  By then it was necessary for Mother and Mark to move to a nursing home, but Freda’s presence had made it possible for our parents to stay at home for as long as they possibly could, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Here are some things to consider in selecting a Nurse’s Aide:

  • A cheerful and willing disposition
  • A neat appearance
  • Solid experience with people with dementia (or whatever the care issues might be)
  • Certification and training
  • References
  • Back-up for those occasions when she is unavailable
  • Background check

A final pearl of wisdom:  Screen an aide thoroughly before hiring.  Do not hesitate to change aides if it’s not a good fit.

Joan Blumenfeld is a Geriatric Care Manager based in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  For information visit her web site  Copyright 2010 Joan Blumenfeld.

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