Client Rights Study Guide for the CNA

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General Information

Client rights can be difficult to understand and sometimes rather complicated when they have been employed. To do your job as a CNA effectively, you must know about client rights, from the most basic of human rights to the more involved rights as a client in a healthcare facility.

Basic Rights

Respect and Dignity

Basic rights awarded to clients include the right to both respect and dignity. This is demonstrated in numerous ways, including treating all clients with kindness and patience, giving them your full attention, and treating adults like functioning, mature men and women.

If a client is being difficult, for instance, inflicting punishments such as limiting television time or other “if you do this, then this” scenarios would be robbing them of their dignity. Treating an adult like a troublesome child is not treating them with respect.

Cleanliness and Comfort

Basic rights also extend to client cleanliness and comfort. clients who are unable to use the bathroom adequately, for instance, should not under any circumstances be left for an extended period of time in their own urine or feces.

All questions of hygiene and comfort should be resolved as quickly as possible, ranging from regular baths to something as small as clipping fingernails. clients who are unable to care for themselves require your consideration and kindness. This includes affording clients their modesty during and after wash times, as well as ensuring clients are covered adequately during rest and recovery.

Additional Rights

While basic rights are incredibly important, complex rights that require more consideration and discretion among healthcare practitioners also exist. These rights include client privacy, client confidentiality, freedom from abuse, monetary control, being informed, personal decisions, and freedom from fear when reporting complaints or difficulties.

Client Privacy and Confidentiality

Because highly sensitive, personal information is frequently exchanged in a medical care setting, clients are awarded the right to both privacy and confidentiality. This means that healthcare practitioners should not discuss client issues and concerns outside of work, with other clients, or in any way not related to the case at hand.

You should never disclose client information without their consent or you could risk serious legal repercussions for doing so. clients expect doctors and healthcare professionals to be trustworthy and discreet with their information, allowing them to speak freely about past mistakes, illnesses, or concerns. Without confidentiality, clients cannot trust their healthcare practitioners and will not offer necessary information freely.

Freedom from Abuse

Clients have the right to freedom from abuse. Abuse comes in many forms, including neglect, physical abuse, and verbal or mental abuse. While clients can be frustrating at times, and work can be grueling, a CNA should not, under any circumstances, lay a hand upon a client, or in any way belittle a client.

As discussed, clients should not be ignored or neglected. If a client is in need of any kind of care, you are responsible to perform the care in question in a timely manner.

Monetary Control

Because clients are to be treated as adults, their money should be handled by them alone. Though it may be tempting to advise clients to use their money in a certain way, or abstain from some purchases while under your care, your position simply requires that you provide physical, mental, and emotional care. You are not intended to function as a caretaker or personal care provider.

Being Informed/Making Personal Decisions

Being in a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility can be frightening for clients. For this reason, clients have the right to be informed of their progress (or lack of progress), their overall care, and their prognosis. Though it may be tempting to keep some information from clients—particularly bad information—the clients deserve to know what is happening in their health and treatment, and should be informed immediately upon asking.

Freedom from Fear

Finally, clients should be able to have freedom from fear regarding any punishment or negative repercussions if dissatisfaction is expressed. Many dynamics are involved in the relationships between clients and their healthcare providers, and sometimes clients and providers will not see eye to eye. Because of this, many clients will lodge complaints regarding their care or hospital procedures. While this is unfortunate, clients have the right to express their opinion (or displeasure) freely, and should not be treated poorly or intimidated into keeping any displeasure or dissatisfaction quiet.

While being a CNA is a rewarding career, many facets of the work require great attention. Clients’ rights are no exception; all clients should be treated with respect and dignity, including protected privacy, confidentiality, and freedom from intimidation, poor treatment, and judgment.

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