Get the Inside Scoop on Being a CNA in a Long-Term Care Facility: A Fun and Informative Guide

There are many different places CNAs can work. One place is in a long-term care facility (LTCF). If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work at a LTCF, this is the blog for you.

First, what is a long term care facility?

A LTCF is a facility where patients live full-time for an extended period of time. Individuals live here because they are unable to care for themselves. Reasons that individuals live in LTCFs are:

  • Due to chronic illness
  • Disability
  • Or age-related frailty

In LTCFs, CNAs work to provide 24/7 care to patients. Tasks for care may include:

  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living
  • Recording vital signs
  • Providing emotional support
  • Cleaning and changing bedding
  • Participating in activities with the patients
  • Assisting with range of motion exercises
  • Helping with meal service
  • Providing medication reminders
  • Helping with feeding
  • Assisting with the bathroom

In the rest of this blog, we will provide an overview of a typical day for a CNA in a long-term care facility.

CNAs in LTCFs may work different shifts. As mentioned before, employees in LTCFs work to provide 24/7 care to patients. This requires CNAs to work together to provide 24/7 care and split care up in shifts.

Shifts that CNAs could work at LTCFs are:

  • 1st shift- 9a.m - 5p.m.
  • 2nd shift- 5p.m. - 1a.m.
  • 3rd shift- 12a.m. - 8a.m.

Next, we will go over different activities CNAs will do across shifts and a daily timeline.

6:00 a.m. - Wake up patients. This may seem early, but it is a typical wake up time for the elderly who have irregular sleeping patterns. Once CNAs wake up patients, they then will:

  • Help them change into day clothes
  • Provide help with personal hygiene, such as brushing their teeth
  • Help them use the restroom

7:00 a.m. - Serve breakfast. After patients are hygienic and ready for the day, CNAs will help patients eat breakfast. Some patients will need help eating because they cannot use silverware themselves. Others will need help to use a feeding tube to eat their food. CNAs can also assist patients with eating breakfast via a feeding tube.

8:00 a.m. - Assist with activities of daily living. After breakfast, patients will have some down time. During this time, they will shower and change clothes. CNAs during this time will need to assist with:

  • Walking
  • Bathing
  • Dressing &
  • Providing companionship

This time period is also when CNAs are likely to switch shifts. So, patients may experience having a new CNA assigned to help them during this time.

10:00 a.m. - Provide medication and check patients for any side effects.  During this part of the morning, CNAs will help patients take their medications. Patients in LTCFs are likely to be on several medications that they must take throughout the day. CNAs keep track of the medication schedule for patients and make sure they take them. CNAs also track if patients react fine to their medications.

12:00 p.m. - Serve lunch and help patients with eating if needed.  At noontime, CNAs will help patients to eat lunch. As mentioned before, some patients won't be able to eat without help. This can be due to different diseases they struggle with, such as Parkinson's. Parkinson's can cause patients to have shaky hands. CNAs may also have to help patients eat via a feeding tube if they cannot digest food by the mouth.

2:00 p.m. - Assist patients with activities, such as games or crafts. The afternoon time period is where patients will have their social time. During this period,  patients may want to:

  • Play games
  • Do crafts
  • Socialize with other patients
  • Watch a movie or T.V. show
  • Watch a program by local youth that the center facilitates

This is the time in the day where patients can enjoy themselves and other patients at the facility. Socializing is very important for mental health of patients, so as a CNA, it can be your job to make sure they do this. It is important to make sure that patients enjoy some part of their day every day.

4:00 p.m. -Assist with afternoon activities of daily living such as toileting, bathing, and dressing.  After socializing or enjoying free time, CNAs must assist patients with hygiene. It is likely that patients may need to:

  • Use the restroom
  • Change their clothes
  • Bathe again if any messes occurred during the day
  • Take a second dose of any medications

As a CNA, you will help your patient to stay hygienic and healthy for the rest of their night.

5:00 p.m. - Serve dinner and help patients with eating if needed.  Around dinnertime, the same applies for eating as breakfast and lunch. Patients may need help

  • Using silverware and eating OR
  • Eating via a feeding tube.

CNAs make sure their patients have eaten well and that they are full at dinnertime. CNAs also may help transport clients to a dinning room so they can eat with other patients. Further, this timeframe is when CNA shifts usually switch. So, CNAs should also check with the CNA they are trading patients on what the patient needs for the rest of the day.

7:00 p.m. - Monitor patients and provide help with personal hygiene as needed.  As nighttime approaches, CNAs should monitor their patients. They should do this to ensure their patients are healthy and satisfied. CNAs may:

  • Check patient's vital signs (such as heart rate or blood pressure)
  • Ask their patient if they need anything
  • Talk to their patient about any emotional concerns they have
  • Ask their patient how their family is and if they need any help contacting them

9:00 p.m. -Situate bedding and prepare patients for bedtime.  At 9:00 p.m, patients should get ready to sleep. CNAs must assist patients in doing so. To help patients get ready for bed, CNAs should:

  • Situate patient's bedding/switch out sheets if necessary
  • Help patients brush their teeth
  • Change patients into pajamas/nighttime clothing
  • Double-check that patients have taken all necessary medications for the day
  • Ask patients if they are feeling well and okay to sleep soon
  • Ask patients if they would like any specific TV show on the TV

After doing these tasks, patients should be ready for bed soon.

11:00 p.m. -Make sure patients are ready to sleep and prepare for the night shift. Right when patients are to sleep soon, it is likely CNAs will switch shifts. This means a new CNA will be the caretaker of a patient for the night. When switching shifts, CNAs should be sure to discuss:

  • How the patient was that day
  • If patients need any medications
  • If the patient had any special request for the night
  • If the patient had anything abnormal about them that day

Once you check this, patients should be okay to have a restful, healthy night. And, CNAs will be ready to care for their patients overnight.


Long term care facilities (LTCFs) are great places to work as a CNA. We hope this blog provided you some insight on what it's like to work at a LTCF. Once you figure out what shift you will work at a LTCF, we hope this blog can help remind you of your tasks. We also hope this can help CNAs interested in working at LTCFs understand what it's like.

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