CNAs Critical to Rainbow Hospice Care's Mission

Rainbow Community Care Team
June 24, 2020 / 5 mins read

Perhaps now more than ever it’s important to recognize what a critical role certified nursing assistants (CNAs) play, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They’re the one discipline that can’t do any of their work anywhere but the bedside,” said Carol Brown, Rainbow Hospice Care Vice President of Quality & Clinical Operations.

Rainbow Hospice is celebrating National Nursing Assistants Week, which runs through next Tuesday (June 18-24).

Rainbow’s CNAs have taken on new roles in the recent months to support their patients and families, including helping to coordinate virtual visits so Rainbow’s other disciplines can evaluate and assist patients. They’ve also assisted families in connecting with their loved ones that live in facilities, helped screen visitors at the Inpatient Center in Johnson Creek, and have supported the volunteer department with various activities and projects.

Without CNAs, Rainbow Hospice Care wouldn’t be able to fulfill its mission of providing comfort, care, and meaning at the end of life. Hospice aides often have the most frequent interactions with patients. They’re out in the community every day caring for their patients’ essential needs like bathing, dressing, hygiene, meal prep, and personal cares, helping them with other day-to-day activities, and developing strong relationships with the patients’ families.

“I love being a CNA,” said Krista Schmidt. “I enjoy taking care of patients with not only personal cares, but to be there for them to have someone to talk with, laugh with and cry with, and they need us more than ever at end of life.”

“My life has been blessed and enriched through all the patients and their families by the stories they tell about the life of the patient, and by knowing what I can do to help them through this part of life’s journey,” said Gretchen Varsik.

During the pandemic CNAs been on the frontlines and are the eyes and ears of the clinical staff, keeping them informed of any changes in the patient’s condition.

“They continue to be a critical piece to the care that hospice provides to those facing the challenges associated with end of life.” “COVID-19 has only reinforced what we already knew, we couldn’t provide extraordinary care to our community without these extraordinary people,” Brown said.

Currently, Rainbow Hospice Care has 25 CNAs on staff, which are key members of the interdisciplinary team. They work together with nurses, doctors, social workers and our spiritual team to provide a full spectrum of end-of-life care services to over 150 patients every day.