The Mighty Logo

Why CNAs Need More Education About Patients With Disabilities

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Not too long ago, I was at a very weak point in my life. As humans, we go through those periods of time so it’s only natural. However, it’s the way we pick ourselves back up that makes us who we turn out to be. In my life I’ve had no choice but to pick myself up and make myself stronger.

I recently got a knee replacement. My physical and mental health is being challenged so much. Let’s talk about the physical part first. Many people like me with cerebral palsy have physical pain all day long. It takes so much energy and time to do simple day-to-day stuff. If you add on any other physical pain that normally isn’t there, you realize how weak or strong a person you can be.

Many people with cerebral palsy choose to take the stronger route, because most of the time we really don’t have a choice. Because I was in a dark place, it was more of a challenge, but I finally found the courage and strength in myself to do so.

This wasn’t your typical knee replacement, this was a struggle to get my voice heard. For the people who don’t really know me and only see my disability, remember that when you mess with me, that’s when my strong side comes out. I will do everything I possibly can to show you I’m a strong woman.

During my stay in rehab for my knee, therapy was easy, but getting my CNA to understand that I was more than what they saw sitting in the wheelchair, and not your average 75 or 80-year-old they care for in a rehab center was not so easy. I had to put more energy into that than my therapy. To me this was a big red flag that CNAs need more education on how to handle patients with disabilities. I do my best to be compassionate and caring, but some the CNAs I dealt with weren’t. That’s what made rehab the most difficult part of my recovery.

Going into this over the summer, my mental heath was in a very bad state because of all the pain in my knee. That had to change quickly, or else I wouldn’t have been able get through the knee replacement. I had to clear my mind in order to focus on my on myself and my knee. I did yoga and forced positive energy. I promised myself I would not go into this with negative energy. As hard as that was, I knew there was no other choice. Once I was able to turn off the negativity in my mind, I was ready for the work that was coming and to do my best.

I’m three weeks post op and I have come a long way in a short time. I just have to try to keep my cerebral palsy at bay so my knee can heal.

Other than the uneducated CNA I had to deal with during my rehab, I’ve come far. It has brought up a new idea of me going in the community to help educate CNAs, because I am not the only person with a physical disability that is going to have to be in a rehab center for one reason or another. Just because my body might be different physically, it doesn’t mean my mind is different as well. This is the biggest mistake people make. If you are going to be a CNA or do anything in the healthcare field, you can’t think like that.

I believe if more people go into the community and educate medical professionals on how to handle patients with disabilities, this will make the rehab period more enjoyable and less stressful not only for them, but the families as well.


Getty image by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz.

Originally published: February 4, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home