Statistics show that older people are becoming the major user of hospital services, which is a result of the population aging. They, actually, have a significantly higher risk of experiencing a functional decline.
This is one of the reasons why providing the best care for the elderly in hospitals is a central issue of every medical institution and the health of every state in general. They use a focused approach to patients, using tools and resources to identify and respond to the risks associated with hospital admission.
This issue is of great importance for all medical institutions because the health treatment and health care of the elderly are related to their limited activities, so during their stay in the hospital the elderly may have more problems such as:
- Experiencing falls
- Developing a delirium
- Becoming malnourished or dehydrated
- Developing depression
- Becoming incontinent
- Experiencing unidentified or poorly managed pain
- Developing pressure injuries.
Those issues can have a significant effect on a patient’s ability to manage a level of independence that allows them to return home.
How Hospitals can Provide the Best Care for Older People
Every hospital should have older people, their families, and the people who care for them in the spotlight and approaching that will allow providing the best care for older people in hospital.
Here are some evidence-based strategies that can play a large role in improving the patient’s experience and outcomes in hospital:
- Treating the person, not the disease
- As many older people are having multiple medical conditions the medical personnel need to identify what is important to those persons.
- Monitoring the older person for signs and symptoms of clinical deterioration
- Promoting independence through encouraging the patient to be dressed, to self-care, mobilize, and toilet themselves. Trying to avoid resting in bed as much as possible.
- Ensuring the patient to eat and drink, because a high percentage of older people present to the hospital are malnourished.
- Looking out for changes in functional and cognitive status, which may indicate that the patient is developing a delirium.
- Involving family and carers in all aspects of care planning, as they know the person best and can provide an understanding of the pre-morbid level of function.
- Screen the older person’s family or carer for emotional and psychosocial wellbeing issues
- Identify, respond, and develop a plan to relieve an older person’s pain, which is highly prevalent in older people.
- Review medications, because older people are more at risk of experiencing problems related to medications.
- Recommend older people for a comprehensive geriatric assessment, which should be done as earlier as possible.
Emma Barker’s Arrangement for the Couple at Queen’s Hospital Burton
Following the instructions for the best care for older people, Sister Emma Barker did something that deserves to be shared with everyone. She arranged the last meeting of a couple who were married for 62 years.
Both, John Wilson, 92, and his wife Marjorie, 88 were at the same time in the Queen’s Hospital Burton. When the staff looked at the condition of the couple, they realized that they may never get to see each other again, so Sister Emma Barker arranged for a couple’s beds to be pushed together.
Emma allowed them to hold hands for around 10 minutes, when she took a photograph of them together, which she later gave to the family as the last moment when they were together, as John sadly passed away at home very soon.
Their marriage for Emma was fascinating, which stimulated her to take such an action. The picture was very emotional and powerful, so everyone who has seen it failed to hold back tears. The members of the family were really impacted after receiving this picture, so they sent so lovely letter to the hospital.
For Emma, being a nurse and caring for people is a real hit, because she likes her occupation and to treat all patients as if they were her family. She was aware that Mr. Wilson’s son was granted with this photo but also the knowledge that his parents met for a final time.
In the letter to the hospital, the couple’s son Kurt thanked them for the final photo and praised staff for ensuring his dad was able ‘to die how he wanted to, peacefully and in his arms’.
He was especially thankful to Sister Emma, who arranged everything and even was able to take a photo of the couple together for the last time.
Tips for Nurses with Elderly Patients
Effective communication with the patients in the hospital facilitates positive outcomes, and here we offer ten tips for nurses on how to approach that positivity:
- Start with the Right Body Language
- Exercise Patience
- Show Proper Respect
- Practice Active Listening
- Build Rapport
- Show Sincerity
- Recognize Sensory Challenges
- Ensure Comfort
- Use Plain Language
- Show Empathy