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Arthritis

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. This is a time to let people know about arthritis.  Arthritis is the most common cause of a disability in the United States. Arthritis is a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Arthritis can happen at any age. It usually is part of getting older. Many patients may have arthritis.

Some signs of arthritis are pain and stiffness in the joints. Stiff fingers or toes can be difficult to move. There can also be swelling and redness in the joints. People who have arthritis usually have less movement in the joints.

A nursing assistant can help patients with arthritis. One thing to do is to help patients with daily gentle stretches or exercises. Stretches can help the joints have more movement. Make sure patients have time to rest between exercises. 

Another thing to do is to use heat on the joint. The heat will help the blood flow in the area. This can reduce swelling. You can also use cold on the joint or area to help with pain.

Patients with arthritis may fall more often. Tell patients to use a cane when walking or exercising. Help patients get in or out of bed. Help patients go to the bathroom to make sure they do not fall.

Tying shoes or using buttons on clothes can be difficult. Tell a patient to get shoes without ties or clothes without buttons. These small changes can help to make patients more independent.

Finally, check with the nursing staff to make sure you understand how to do any of these tasks. Not all patients need the same level of care for their arthritis. Always remember to tell a nursing staff member or supervisor if you see any changes in a patient’s condition.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners