5 Tips for Nurses to Take Care of Older Patients

Older patients require more specialized care, which helps them adjust to their new lifestyle. It’s not easy being old. Your body starts slowing down. You may face a multitude of illnesses, and living with aching muscles and weak bones is not easy. But as a nurse, you can help maintain the health of senior citizens without letting it escalate further.

Geriatric care is a vital part of the medical industry. Baby boomers are all stepping into sixty-five and above and need all the assistance they can find. You, too, can play your part. Here are some ways you may look after senior patients:

  1. Upgrade Your Skills

Older patients may have numerous diseases at a time, wreaking havoc on their system. For example, it is not uncommon for a person with diabetes to have hypertension and recover from surgery. So be prepared to read on multiple diagnoses and medications per person. This can make providing care complicated since you need to pay attention to how the dosage works if the patient is already taking medications.

Therefore having the right skills and degree can help immensely. Terminal degrees like nurse practitioners can help. You’re far more liberated in your practice and substantially understand different health patterns. New Jersey has some of the most esteem programs. By getting an online FNP course by WPUNJ, you prepare yourself for a primary care provider position. You’re far more aware of working with senior patients and have relatively good judgment on what medication they may need. Your degree also lets you prescribe tests and order diagnoses, allowing you to make a more calculated treatment route. This can help geriatric patients in the long run.

  1. Be Kind

Diseases can make you vulnerable, and the more dangerous the illness, the more helpless you feel. Older patients are the same. Even if they don’t vocalize it, they’re not comfortable in their current condition. So if you get impatient, angry, or upset with them, it can make it harder for the older patient to cooperate. Some may get too scared to listen, while others resort to violence. So if you feel anxious about the workload you have, take a breath.

Each patient deserves proper respect and time, and you rushing them will not make the work easier. Instead, try making small talk with the patient, making them feel comfortable, and expressing interest in their lives and well-being. If a patient gets flustered, reassure them that they’re doing fine. This helps you develop a good relationship with them and eases some of their discomforts over being in the hospital.

  1. Choose Your Words Carefully

As a healthcare giver, you have to provide your patients with the exact outlook on their health. But there is a difference between telling your patients what they have and being cruel. No one wants to know they have a terminal illness, and you can’t break the ice by dropping it on them. Every patient has a different way of handling pain, and some patients can handle the news well. Others cannot. Older patients are the same.

It would help if you did not take advantage of their patience and quietness. Talk to them about their health, and discuss what the chart says before explaining what they have. You should ease them into the conversation instead of giving them the shock of their life. If you believe treatment can help, make sure you go over the option, and before giving them false hope, run it by their doctor.

  1. Maintain Older Patient’s Integrity

Senior patients may have trouble walking, breathing, or keeping their gowns in place. It is your job to ensure they’re safe and secure as you get wheeled into treatment. Fix it for them if they’re exposed or don’t know if their gown has ridden high. Then, when they are in their hospital bed, you need to tuck them in and ensure all the connections like the cannula are adequately placed.

Please don’t start any physical exam without drawing the curtains, asking for their consent, and wearing gloves. Your touch should be enough to probe and feel but not hard enough to bruise. Some senior patients may have accidents. Always be prepared for them and never shame them for it. If they fall unconscious or have a seizure, cover them up, help them come back to consciousness, and encourage them to jog their memory.

  1. Provide Detailed Descriptions

Older patients need substantial guidance. Relays your instruction more than once and as clearly as possible. Show them what you mean and write it down if they can’t understand. If your patient has a caretaker, involve them in the process of care. Certain patients are nonverbal, so gauge how well they know before moving on when you ask them to do something.

Try using printed prescriptions with a font size large so they can see what you’re saying. Talk to their caretakers about getting them pill organizers or oral forms of some more prominent medication. This can help in solving it. When chartering a meal plan, advise the patient to see a nutritionist for more guided help. Most older patients need a rich diet filled with fruits, meat, and carbs. You can divide the portions.

Final Thoughts

Older patients are a vulnerable faction. They need your kindness and support more than ever. As a nurse, it is your job to treat all your patients with dignity and honor. If you feel a patient is too complex, you can always hand the case to someone else. But those under your wing deserve proper care. You must have the skills to help them.

Softness is the way to go for couples with an overview of their condition. Don’t let the patient feel embarrassed and always support them. You should also lend a hand to make it easier for them to come to you. Finally, detailed descriptions can help determine how they need to consume their medication. With all these factors caring for older patients will result in their health getting better to a manageable state.

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