Providing privacy for skills is an essential component of patient care. It may not always make sense to you to close the privacy curtain for certain skills, but it must be done! I often hear questions like, “If we are walking a patient, why are we closing the curtain first?” The answer is…because privacy is important! This simply must be a routine part of patient care – with no judgment required on your part. Otherwise, care is not performed consistently as some CNAs provide privacy for one skill while others do not. So, the rule remains…provide privacy…always. Except for one skill!
Which skill does not require privacy? Feeding a patient. Why? Because eating is a social event and when you isolate a patient by closing a privacy curtain, you may inadvertently cause them to eat less! Most people gather in groups to eat. They will have conversations and interact with others. If someone is alone, they will often turn to TV or a book for their socialization needs. But there is still some social connection that must be present to stimulate the appetite. By closing the privacy curtain, the patient will remain isolated and not eat as well!
So, provide privacy for all skills except feeding by closing the privacy curtain. This shows respect and an understanding of the patient’s need to feel secure and retain their dignity as we assist them with their physical needs.