Scholastic Spotlight: a Description of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) for CNAs

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Activities of daily living, most commonly represented by the acronym ‘ADLs,’ consist of the everyday actions that revolve around the provision of the most fundamental self-care activities for one’s own body. The main ADLs include seemingly simple tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, mobility, toileting (continence), grooming (personal hygiene), and transferring (ambulation).

Even though the aforementioned ADLs seem fairly simple for a healthy person to carry out, they can pose a number of uphill battles for many clients and residents in medical settings. Workplaces such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, personal care group homes, and clients’ private residences are full of patients who cannot do their own ADLS due to weakness, immobility, cognitive impairment and/or long term illness.

For example, a male patient whose entire left side of the body is very weak due to an old stroke might have extreme difficulty getting himself dressed. This same patient may really struggle to transfer himself from the bed to the wheelchair. There’s a good chance he probably has issues with mobility. He might also need assistance with other activities like eating, showers, personal hygiene, and going to the restroom.

Furthermore, a client’s general ability to complete ADLs is affected by a number of differing factors. These can include cognition, motor skills, physical abilities, and overall functional status. A person’s functional status is defined as one’s ability to accomplish tasks that are imperative for living. Factors such as confusion, dementia, debility, weakness, deconditioning and prolonged immobility affect ADL performance.

Functional status is a very important concept in healthcare because it is one of those defining things that dictates whether or not an elder will require daily caregiving and assistance with ADLs. For elders in the community, their level of functional status will determine whether or not they are placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Functional status is also a good predictor of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death).

Of course, anyone who is enrolled in a nurse aide training program has probably been taught that one of the CNA’s most crucial roles in the workplace is to help patients and residents complete ADLs. In fact, the CNA is entrusted with knowing how to help their patients perform ADLs in an efficient manner while maintaining an environment of safety, cleanliness and privacy regardless of the setting.

Tasks such as feeding, mouth care, incontinent care, combing hair, showering, bathing, abiding by timed toileting programs, and pushing a resident’s wheelchair are all things CNAs do to assist clients with ADLs. This is consistently true whether a CNA works in a nursing home, hospital, group home, assisted living facility, or a private duty nursing case at a client’s personal residence.

Here are some rules of thumb when delivering assistance with ADLs. CNAs should ask the client about his or her preferences when providing care, as well as allow them to do as much as they reasonably can for themselves. Also, CNAs should praise their clients when they are cooperating or doing things the right way. Finally, a calm attitude of caring and empathy goes a long way in forming bonds of trust with patients.

Do not forget to call Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School at (682)626-5266 to jump-start a fulfilling career in the healthcare sector as a nurse aide. The nurse aide classes offered by Legacy Healthcare Careers all include classroom instruction as well as hands-on training with real patients by way of clinical externships at local healthcare centers in the Dallas /Fort Worth metro area of Texas.

 

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