5 Tips when Caring for Geriatric Patients
Just as day turns into night, a blooming flower wilts and dies, a vibrant color starts to fade, every person, too, ages and nears the finish line. When this time comes, our once shining light starts to fade. Some people who age become forgetful, some get attacked by a ton of diseases, and some become hard to care for. They say it takes patience for one to care for geriatric patients. But as nurses how do we perform our jobs? How do we care for our elderly patients? How do we take this challenge?
Below are tips for nurses when caring for aging patients:
1 Strike up a conversation
As humans, it is essential that we interact meaningfully with one another. As nurses, therapeutic communication is a must when providing care. The elderly population, may be lacking and in great need of genuine human to human interaction.
When caring for geriatric patients, do not only focus on the task that should be done, converse with your patient. You may start asking them about their children, where their used to work, what their hobbies include and many more. Remember that we are caring for people, with emotions and the need for interaction and not just robots.
2 Be patient
When communicating with our aging patients, it is important that we listen to what they say. Though they may have lessened ability to express, we must be patient when communicating with them and let them finish what they want to say.
3 Tell them about the procedure beforehand
Elderly people tend to resist strangers and do not trust people. Because of this, before starting a health care procedure to them, tell them beforehand what you are going to do. This would avoid noncooperation when they don’t trust you.
4 Offer a warm blanket
A warm blanket is always a good idea no matter what age a person is, especially to geriatric patients who tend to be more sensitive to the cool environment of the hospital.
5 Be gentle with their skin
The skin of the elderly is very sensitive. With aging skin or a good possibility that they are on some sort of blood thinner or aspirin, IV starts and blood draws, some serious battle wounds may become a problem for the geriatric population. Always remember to be gentle when it comes to dealing with their skin. Sometimes, simple gestures such as using paper tape instead of silk tape can make a huge difference.
They say when you’re a nurse, you get to witness life from womb to tomb. This is because the nursing profession does not only care for one age group in particular. We nurses do not only care for newborn babies, but for toddlers, young adolescents, adults and elder lies as well. In all these, we must always bear in mind that not one age group is completely similar to another. We must understand that every age group has their own needs and concerns and that care must not be generalized. Nurses must provide appropriate care, attention and assistance to meet each patient’s needs.
One day, we will get old, too. Caring for elderly patients is not that easy, but no matter how challenging it gets, let us remember to treat our elderly patients with both respect and patience.