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CNA Training & Classes | October 20, 2017

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Taking Vital Signs

In taking the vital signs of the resident, you should always remember to first explain it to them so they will participate in the procedure. It is important to be organized in taking vital signs so as not to waste time and energy.

Taking Temperature

There are many sites for temperature taking and getting them depends on the site preference of the facility and or the health team. When taking temperature orally, it is important to delay at least 15 minutes before taking if residents have had a hot liquid or smoked only just a moment ago.

Taking temperature through the axilla requires a dry armpit in order to get an accurate reading. Also, document the reading with an A for axilla or follow the guidelines that the facility recommends in the use of such abbreviations.

If the results are unclear you should repeat the procedure or use other method.

Measuring Blood Pressure

Taking blood pressure requires the use of sphygmomanometer with blood pressure cuffs therefore knowing how it works requires some practice.  The taking of blood pressure should be taken from the site where the highest readings are present either in sitting or lying down position. To determine such site requires taking blood pressure in both arms with different positions, comparing these results and recording each taking.

Measuring Pulse

Measuring pulse rate can be taken at the wrist and it needs to be measured for at least one minute, especially if the resident has heart disease. Taking the apical pulse can be done by listening to the apex or the tip of the heart for a full minute. An irregular pulse may indicate an abnormality in the heart condition. This must be documented and reported immediately so that abnormal heart condition can be determined and treated early.

Measuring Respirations

Respirations also should be counted for a one full minute. Counting the respiratory rate consists of counting both inspiration or inhaling of air and also expiration or exhaling as one count.  Observe the unusual breathing such as dyspnea or the difficulty in breathing and alterations in the rhythm of respiration such as pauses.

When taking vital signs, it is important that a small pad of notes and pen be present for recording, especially if one is taking vital signs for many residents. In weight and height taking, consider also the mobility of resident. Use a scale suitable for this kind of situation such as a wheelchair scale or other equipment that can be used to immobile residents.