Describe the characteristics of the aging process. Explain how some of the characteristics may lead to elder abuse (memory issues, vulnerability, etc.). Discuss the types of consideration a nurse must be mindful of while performing a health assessment on a geriatric patient as compared to a middle-aged adult.
Characteristics of Aging
Scholars have not developed a specific definition of the term aging. However, in general terms, aging in humans is the process of growing older as time goes. In terms of health, aging can be characterized in many ways. Lipska et al. (2016) mention that aging people have the following features. First, an aging person urinates frequently because of relaxed bladder muscles. The muscles can relax due to irritation, infection, or any other cause. Second, an aging individual has weaker bones, muscles, and joints as compared to a middle-aged or a young person. Also, as a person grows old, his heart rate may pump slower, and thus leading to many medical problems. Lastly, aging is characterized by poor eyesight.
Some of the aging characteristics can make gaged individuals face various types of elder abuse. Senior people can be abused because of their poor eyesight. For instance, a person can make them sign fake documents that may cause them to lose their property due to poor eyesight. Also, aged people with hearing problems can be misinformed by people caring for them because of their condition. Abbruzzese and Simon (2018) mention that senior people might be left in their rooms alone and isolated because they have week joints, muscles, and bones and cannot move.
Caring for Senior Patients
A nurse must consider certain things before they medically assess their patients. First, they must consider their hearing capacity. For elderly patients with hearing problems, the nurses must get their attention through speaking their names and touching their shoulder gently. When the patients have sight issues, the nurses should write instructions in clear and bold handwriting.
Abbruzzese, L. D., & Simon, P. (2018). Special Concerns for the LGBT Aging Patient: What Rehab Professionals Should Know. Current Geriatrics Reports, 7(1), 26-36.
Lipska, K. J., Krumholz, H., Soones, T., & Lee, S. J. (2016). Polypharmacy in the aging patient: a review of glycemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes. Jama, 315(10), 1034-1045.
Role of Nurses in End of Life Care
During old age, most patients wish to die in their lovely homes beside in the presence of their loved ones. However, their wishes may not be fulfilled due to many factors. Most senior patients still die in hospitals because some of the illnesses ailing them are not covered by palliative care and hospice programs. Therefore, when they get ill, they are run to the hospital to get proper medical attention. Another reason is that some family members may not allow their loved ones to die on their watch (Chan et al., 2016). Thus, instead of letting the elderly patients die at home, they take them to various hospitals in a move to save the patients’ lives. Also, patients may die in hospitals because their diseases cannot be managed at home. For instance, patients who need intensive care units, CT scans must be taken to a medical facility and might die there when receiving treatments.
Nurses play critical roles at the end of life care. Wright et al. (2016) argue that they can offer guidance and counseling to families faced with a challenge to provide proper care for their loved ones. For instance, nurses can provide medication that can help the patient die in peace without pain. During the end of life, families are often scared, confused, and overwhelmed. Nurses can help these families by offering emotional support to families (Chan et al., 2016). Lastly, nurses’ role during this time is to provide pain management medication that can make their patients feel more comfortable. Also, they must physiologically help the patients and their loved ones accept the sad reality.
Chan, R. J., Webster, J., & Bowers, A. (2016). End‐of‐life care pathways for improving outcomes in caring for the dying. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).
Wright, A. A., Keating, N. L., Ayanian, J. Z., Chrischilles, E. A., Kahn, K. L., Ritchie, C. S., … & Landrum, M. B. (2016). Family perspectives on aggressive cancer care near the end of life. Jama, 315(3), 284-292.
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