Where do CNAs Typically Work?
Certified nursing assistants work in a variety of facilities. You can find CNAs working in:
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Doctor Offices
- Nursing Homes
- Home Health Care Agencies
- Urgent Care Centers
Only nursing homes are mandated by the federal government to hire certified nurse assistants. Other facilities are not required to have any on staff and may hire nurses exclusively.
CNAs provide support with ADLs in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living
In assisted living facilities and nursing homes, nurse aides provide personal care and support with activities of daily living for residents. This can and does include dressing, eating, physical transfers from bed to chairs, transporting via wheelchairs, and toileting. Many residents are unable to perform these activities themselves and must rely on aides for many of their basic needs.
Aides also provide emotional support and comfort to residents. Many residents suffer from anxiety, depression, and dementias in addition to any physical limitations. Some residents may have no family and their only link to human contact is the staff in their facility. CNAs receive some training in psychology during their course and will learn how to offer this support while maintaining the dignity of the resident.
In other facilities, the aides may perform the duties traditionally associated with nurses. Preparing patients for surgery, taking vital signs, and administering some medications. The duties that these aides are allowed to perform will vary by state, sometimes by county.
CNAs by Another Name
CNAs that work in offices and hospitals may go by a different name. These aides go through specialized training and may only enter some special courses after working for a set number of hours or months as a ‘regular’ CNA. Courses for these aides may be for memory care, medication dispersion, rehabilitation, or hospice care.
Restrictions on Services CNAs can Provide
CNAs may not legally provide care without supervision of a nurse. Aides that advertise on websites and in local newspapers for in-home care cannot legally charge rates for CNA care or offer personal healthcare – they may only work as companions. The nurse may be either a Registered Nurse (RN)or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (or LPN/LVN). Certain states require that an aide may only be supervised by an RN.
It is important to note that any CNA employed by a staffing agency to provide in-home private care must take yet another course and be certified as a Home Health Provider or Home Health Aide. These aides are still under the supervision of a nurse. If the aide is not under the supervision of a nurse, the staffing agency must provide a nurse to ‘check in’ on the aide and patient.