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My mother has been in this nursing home since April, after suffering a massive stroke which has left her paralyzed. She has use of her right arm, can talk and carry on a conversation, still has her long-term memory. She can self feed (pureed food) if everything is set up for her, but that's about all she can do physically. She was totally independent before the stroke.


As one can guess, this is causing her much distress. She is very afraid, and has always been afraid of nursing homes. She's having a tough time.


I went to visit her tonight. New Geriatric Nursing Assistant in her unit tonight. Her GNA was a male. She told me he was very nice. When it was time to have her diaper changed and get her nightgown on, he came in to do that. I stayed. New and a man, I didn't like it. Mom started crying in the middle of the process, and cried for an hour afterwards. She was extremely embarrassed. Is this a normal practice at nursing homes, having a male change a female? Nothing personal against this gentleman.

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Well, if you stop to think about it we've forced men to accept intimate care from someone of the opposite sex forever. And up until recently it was pretty uncommon for women to be doctors, so women had to accept intimate care from a male doctor.
Personally I think it is great that more men are going into nursing, especially front line caregivers like CNAs - and I may be showing my prejudices but I imagine it takes an especially caring man to choose a career that undoubtedly has caused him to be ridiculed at some point.
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m1kew00 Dec 1, 2018
I totally agree. The supervising nurse at the nursing home is male, and he is wonderful. My mom's nurse on duty last night is a male, been there about a month, and is great. And while I'd say probably 98% of the staff there are female, the few male CNAs/GNAs that I've come across have been very good. Please, let me be clear, I don't have any problems with this gentleman as a caregiver, nor does my mom, and I was afraid to even broach the subject, because I don't want it coming back on him when he didn't do anything wrong. In the end, I believe the resident's comfort level is most important, and the resident should have the final say in care decisions, especially such a personal one.
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Thank you all for your replies. I spoke with the nursing supervisor on duty yesterday and she was very receptive to Mom's problems. She asked if we would like only females to change her, and I said yes please. Also made clear that this was not at all a reflection on the male caregiver, just Mom's personal preference.
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smeshque Dec 2, 2018
Good job looking out for Mom.
And Big yay for Mom!
Thank you for loving and caring about your Mom and her feelings. You did good! 🌸
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Did your mother say she was crying because the caregiver was male? Or are you assuming that was the cause? Caring for someone bedbound is heavy work. You want the aide to have strength, training and gentleness. Gender really should not be the top concern.

If I were your mom, I'd be crying about the situation in general.
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m1kew00 Dec 3, 2018
No doubt in my mind that a male changing her was not the only reason for her tears. Perhaps more of a trigger. As someone who knows depression well, I know how easy it is to cry about one thing, and then start thinking about every single bad thing that has ever happened in my life. It definitely takes a lot of strength and practice to stop that thinking before it spirals out of control. She is definitely depressed and has tons of anxiety, and is being treated for such. She's also on lots of other meds, and often gets weepy when left alone, when being hoyer lifted, when another patient is in distress. I mean after all, she can't do anything for herself, and is at the mercy of her caretakers, whom she is just starting to feel comfortable with. She told me she prefers a female to change her - the females she is familiar with. Probably near impossible to have only certain people change her, but the no male request should not be difficult considering the very vast majority of the staff are female. She's also a very tiny, frail, sweet lady. Fortunately, the staff at this nursing home are wonderful, and do try to accommodate as much as possible.
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I feel so bad for your Mom. That must have been an awful experience for her. I believe this is becoming more of a practice as I am seeing it more.
But, you have the right and Mom has the right to say that she is not comfortable with that and she would prefer a woman to assist her in personal things.
She should never have to experience that again. I would definitely speak to whoever is in charge to make sure they accommodate her wishes.
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m1kew00 Dec 1, 2018
Thank you so much for your kind response. I will definitely talk to someone tomorrow.
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My wife was in a nursing home from 2007 to when she passed away in2017...Her favorite nursing assistant (and that of every other patient)  was a young man.  He did everything related to her care and she had no qualms about it.  He said she was a second grandma to him and he meant it.  I feel sorry that your mom is so embarrassed and empathize with her.  To answer your question, from what I have seen, yes, make nursing assistants do work with female residents.  
Grace + Peace
Bob
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Hello, at the nursing home where I work, when there is a male GNA on the unit, he is assigned to care for all the men (we don’t have that many) and for a specific group of women who are NOT distressed by his care. So, I would say, YES it is normal practice that a male may care for women, but NO it is not the practice to have him care for her if she is distressed. Good luck, and I am sure you will be able to work this out.
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YsLadyMN Dec 4, 2018
This is my observation as well. The fact that nobody asked her if she was OK with it, or had an opportunity to think about it in advance and feel she had a say in it makes me sad for her... but in every care facility I've worked in, or had my loved ones in, they are more sensitive and proactive about managing it.
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Let me say that having been a male CNA working in a nursing home, sometimes it gets embarrassing for the male also. I think that , generally speaking, a male would rather take care of male patients. That being said, we consider ourselves professionals and as such try to do what is best for the patient regardless of gender. Sometimes I get a little nervous when I have to see a female doctor if it involves a measure of intimacy. Medical or care situations require a change in attitude (unfortunately).
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I would not be embarrassed at all by being cared for by a professionally trained CNA, but I would be mortified if my son were watching as care was being administered by that same professionally trained CNA.

I might also feel the burden of my physical condition much more with my son present and watching.

My sons and I are VERY close, and I prefer to spare them my physical issues, and yes although BOTH of us know I have issues, we sort of suspend belief in a situation that I feel might be embarrassing to them, even if it didn’ t embarrass me.
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cwillie Dec 1, 2018
When my mom was first at the NH I was asked to leave the room when personal care was given, after they knew I had been her caregiver and "done it all" I was permitted to remain, but some aides still drew the curtain to protect her modesty.
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One facility I worked at a gentleman did not want me to take of him because I am female. I was not offended and my feelings were not hurt. It’s just part of the job, it’s all about the comfort of the Resident.
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JoAnn29 Dec 1, 2018
Where do u live in NJ. I live in SJersey.
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When Mom was in the hospital she had 4 nurses in her room. When two left it was the females. The males were left to undress her. She got very upset and I told them that she would prefer the females.

I too am a modest person. Yes, I have a male GYN only because thats all we have in my area and after 30 + years I am used to him. But no way would I want a male nurse or CNA helping me with bathing or toileting. Its bad enough when anyone has to help u even a child. Its bad enough when they have Dementia or an illness that has taken some freedom away but let them have their dignity.
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