CNA Job Duties: Regulating Patient Visitors

CNA’s, also known as certified nursing assistants, have many important action items in their job descriptions. One of the duties in the CNA job description is regulating patient visitations, which is done for a number of reasons that we will cover in this article. While it may seem straightforward and easy, regulating patient visitations is a very important part of the CNA job description and nursing assistants should make it a priority in their job every day.

Regulating Visitors Depends Largely on Work Location

Hospitals

At hospitals, CNA’s are typically responsible for regulating visitations. While there are a variety of factors that affect how many visitors a patient can see, the visitation restrictions are generally setup depending on what ward the patient is in. The most common wards where you may find the need for regulated visiting hours are typically in intensive care units (aka ICU’s), inpatient surgery, outpatient surgery, NICU and labor and delivery. While most hospitals have very similar standards, keep in mind that this can vary from hospital to hospital. One of the biggest reasons visitors are usually regulated for in these areas is to allow patients time to rest and promote healing. In some cases, it may be the doctor or registered nurses that have put the request in place for a specific patient. For example, if there is an Alzheimer patient that does not recognize certain people, the doctor or nurse may request that those people do not visit for a period of time. If this happens the CNA will be responsible for regulating that patient’s visitors. If there is a child that is being hospitalized and there is a chance of someone coming in and trying to abduct that child, then there would be regulated visitations for that patient. Again this will be the responsibility of the CNA to monitor the child’s visitors. This is also set in place to help prevent visitors that may be looking to steal drugs or perform other illegal activities. As you can see, there are any different scenarios presented at the hospital when it comes to patient visitation and there is no one size fits all. Therefore, it is important to communicate with the staff of doctors, nurses and other nursing assistants to make sure that a proper visitor guideline schedule is set for each patient if necessary.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are the other most common CNA work location where nursing assistants are asked to help regulate visitations. A few of the reasons to regulate visitations at nursing homes are: keep the nursing home safe, keep the residents safe and healthy and make sure it is quiet when residents need rest. This is to ensure that the residents of the nursing home are not being interrupted after going to bed. CNA’s are often the best “line of defense” when it comes to making sure the residents at the nursing home are provided quality care and assistance when it comes to regulating their visitations.

Assisted Living Facilities

In most cases assisted living facilities do not have visiting hours because the residents of these facilities are more capable of caring for themselves and don’t have the restrictions that patients in nursing homes do. Basically they are just renting an apartment that offers help with daily living when it is needed but they are free to come and go when they please along with their visitors. If there were a specific case that a resident needed to have monitored visiting hours this would again be the CNA’s job. This would probably be an order from a physician and most likely set in place to help give the resident rest.

Certain situations do arise where visits will be regulated regardless of the location. In any setting if a patient is on quarantine for a highly contagious illness there would be regulations set for visitors. This is because certain measures have to be taken to prevent the spread of the illness. In this case a CNA would have to very closely monitor the people going in and out of the room.

CNA’s most commonly interact with patients

CNA’s most commonly come into contact with the patients more than any other person in the healthcare industry. This is because they have a lot on their job description and interact with patients on a daily basis. While this is a great responsibility for CNA’s, this can make it difficult to closely monitor visitors. Because of this there are often times certain procedures that are put into place to assist the CNA’s with monitoring visitors. For example, there may be a visitor desk set up for patients to check in and out at. Often times a volunteer will be sitting at this desk to assist the CNA’s in regulating visitors.

During their training program, CNA’s learn briefly about how, why, where and when to regulate patient visitations. They will go over the reason for regulating visitor hours and some of the procedures they may come into contact with to do so. The procedures for regulating these hours will differ from each facility though, so while it is important to learn this material, don’t become too focused on memorizing it as you will be trained at the facility you work at as to their guidelines and regulations. It also depends on the type of facility you work in weather or not there are visiting hour regulations and how they will monitor it. There are also some places they do not have any visiting hours and allow visitors to come and go as they please.

Promoting Recovery, Preventing Spread of Diseases and Safety

Regulating patient visitations is an important part of a CNA’s job because patients need their rest to recover properly, it keeps patients and other workers safe and it prevents the spread of disease. Regulating patient visitations as a CNA should not be a difficult or complicated part of the job, but it is an important part of the job and should always be a priority for all nursing assistants!