Gerontology class

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Involving our Elderly Patients in the Process of Care: Practical Tips for Nurses

Presented by

Julie Boggess

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Introduction

The goal of this presentation is to provide information that addresses the myth that elders lack intelligence, and are therefore unable to participate in their care.

This is important for nurses to understand so that we can interact with our patients in the most respectful and caring way possible.

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How presentation will benefit audience: Adult learners are more interested in a subject if they know how or why it is important to them.

Presenter’s level of expertise in the subject: Briefly state your credentials in this area, or explain why participants should listen to you.

Training Point 1: All elderly patients do not have severe cognitive loss

Four discussion points:

There seems to be a societal impression that most elderly people end up with Alzheimer’s Disease. While it is true that the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease increases after the age of 80, it is estimated that 1/12 people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s.

Getting Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of the aging process.

Be aware that there are conditions that could make it appear as if a patient has Alzheimer’s disease such as slowed speech, hearing loss or depression. It is important that we understand all issues going on with our elderly patients.

Therefore, most elderly people are capable of thinking, learning, contributing and participating in their care.

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Example objectives

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

Save files to the team Web server.

Move files to different locations on the team Web server.

Share files on the team Web server.

Training Point 2: Elder persons are intelligent, but they may learn new things at a slower pace

Three discussion points:

Elders have accumulated intelligence, called “crystalized intelligence.” This type of intelligence reflects accumulated past experiences, and signifies the acquisition of practical expertise in everyday life- in other words “wisdom.”

Fluid intelligence is applied to new tasks and represents the ability to come up with novel or creative solutions to problems. Fluid intelligence may be more challenging for an elderly person.

It is widely agreed that elders take longer to learn new things, and their fluid intelligence may be affected by slower cognitive processing, vision loss, hearing loss and even depression. That doesn’t mean we can’t tap into their wisdom- and build on their experience, “crystalized intelligence.”

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Example objectives

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

Save files to the team Web server.

Move files to different locations on the team Web server.

Share files on the team Web server.

Training Point 3: Tips on how to adapt our working approach with elderly patients/clients

Five tips:

Don’t expect your elderly patient to “catch on” to new information quickly. Remain patient, explain new information slowly and in small bites. Provide the information verbally and in writing if needed.

Tap into your patient’s abilities, and call on their wisdom. “You’ve lived with arthritis for many years- which exercise seems to help you the most?”

Give your patient options whenever possible. “Do you prefer to go to physical therapy later this morning, or early this afternoon?”

When sharing new information, ask your patient to repeat it back. For example:

“Mrs. Murphy, could we review once again the new medication that your physician has prescribed. Would you please explain to me what it is for?

Never talk at your patient, above your patient, or to someone else about your patient as if he/she wasn’t in the room.

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Example objectives

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

Save files to the team Web server.

Move files to different locations on the team Web server.

Share files on the team Web server.

Conclusion

As nurses, we need to help bust the myth that elderly patients are incapable of participating in their care and learning new things.

Never assume that they don’t understand what is going on.

Our elderly patients may take more time, and need us to be patient with them.

They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, just like any other patient.