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Page 1 Restorative Skills Study Guide for the CNA

Restorative skills for CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) differ from Restorative Nursing Assistants (RNAs) in several ways. An RNA is required to have CNA training, with additional restorative training. CNAs, however, are simply required to acquire a basic competency level with restorative skills, in addition to all expected CNA duties. Because a CNA is typically involved with patients in the long term, a basic understanding of restorative and rehabilitative skills is necessary; as a CNA, you will be required to perform a multitude of duties, including assisting your patients with rehabilitation and therapy.

Understanding Restorative Skills

Restorative skills are ultimately designed to assist clients in achieving preventative care. Through therapy and rehabilitation techniques, a CNA may expect to serve as an encouragement for their patients, as well as providing direct restorative care, ranging from assistance as small as emotional support in therapy to actually assisting clients in achieving healing goals. Included in restorative care is observation. To utilize therapeutic techniques and enact preventative care effectively, a CNA must observe patients carefully to identify any problematic areas, or any potential issues with the client—physical or mental.

While you may not be expected to perform actual physical therapy exercises alongside your patient, you essentially serve as an emotional and physical support to your patient. This may mean encouraging your patient to complete all necessary exercises, or may mean actively assisting your patient to fulfill all therapy requirements adequately. Because restorative skills encompass many different techniques, approach patients with patience and positivity.

Restorative Care and Patient Interaction

When engaging in restorative care, you must regard your patients as adults in need of assistance. While your patients should not be treated like children or forced to undergo therapy or rehabilitation they do not want to attend, they should be strongly encouraged to attend all therapy sessions and work their hardest while there. Before and after therapy, motivate and encourage the patient, while assisting with any physical needs related to preventative care. This may include transporting the patient to the resident therapist, assisting with physical therapy techniques, and observing the patient for any signs of trouble or relapse.

Restorative skills also include basic patient care and transferable skills. Basic patient care may involve assisting with toileting and hygienic needs, and encompasses teaching patients how to care for themselves following hospitalization or significant medical treatment. As a CNA, you must be respectful, diligent, and patient with you clients, as many may resist rehabilitation efforts and may be inclined to dismiss some recommended treatment plans and follow-up care. When dealing with difficult patients, remember to treat them as adults. Patients treated with disrespect or condescension will likely not listen to your advice and may be able to pursue legal action against staff members—including any resident CNAs.