Understanding Patients' Rights as a CNA

Understanding Patients' Rights as a CNA

When people are admitted as patients into hospitals, nursing homes or other medical facilities, they have some certain rights collectively called patients’ rights. When you train for a career as a CNA, you are also taught what those rights are and how to respect them, as understanding and respecting them are vital parts of a CNA’s job.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Some of the most important patients’ rights today are the rights to privacy and confidentiality. What this means for you as a CNA is that you should never discuss a patient's issues or personal information with other patients or persons outside of work. You must also understand that it is outside of your job's responsibilities to discuss a patient's condition with the patient's family members.

Verbal and Physical Abuse

Working as a CNA can be quite stressful at times; however, you should never, under any circumstances, abuse your patients. This includes physical and sexual abuse as well as verbal abuse, mental abuse and neglect. Patients are in medical facilities to receive medical care, and when they need your assistance, you must help them as best as you can. It is also important for you to report suspected abuse promptly to your supervisor.

Dignity and Respect

Other rights that all patients should always be able to maintain are dignity and respect. Many of your patients may need help with such daily activities as dressing, bathing and eating. As a CNA, when you are helping patients with such activities, it is important that you perform the tasks in such a way that your patients do not lose their dignity. Respect your patients and show them empathy and kindness at all times.

Choices and Information

Whenever you visit a patient, you must always inform that patient what you are there for and what you will be doing. However, you also need to understand that the patient can refuse your assistance or care if he or she chooses. In these cases, never argue with the patient! If you feel as if the task you were sent to perform is necessary, simply report to your supervisor that the patient refused your care.

Comfort and Cleanliness

Finally, all patients have the rights to comfort and cleanliness. While working as a CNA, if you notice that a patient needs clean bedding, fresh night clothes or a new bed pan, it is your responsibility to see to his or her needs right away. Rooms should be kept clean as well, and any spills should be mopped up immediately. You will also want to make sure that patients have fresh water at all times and easy access to their call buttons.


As a CNA, you will need to learn about patients' rights, which include freedom from abuse and the rights to maintain dignity, comfort and cleanliness.

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