Effective communication between nurses and elderly patients facilitates positive patient outcomes. Older adults require special care. They are weaker and could have multiple conditions such as dementia, vision, and hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
As a result, the attending nurse must take time to understand the condition and figure out the uniqueness of every patient. Only trained professionals can handle this without breaking a sweat. If you plan to go into this field and want to enjoy your time there, then this article is for you. Below are some tips for caring for elderly patients.
Display the right body language
Older adults can easily misinterpret your body language. They can assume that you’re being aggressive even when you don’t mean to be. Therefore, you have to be careful. When a patient is introduced to you, calmly walk toward them and sit opposite them if possible. This ensures that they maintain steady eye contact with you. Communication is smoother when they look you in the face. The position also commands attention and helps them understand facial cues.
Nurses must be patient with their patients, especially elderly ones. Sometimes, these adults do not see things from your perspective. Due to their condition, their thinking could be limited, and their comprehension could be affected. Understand when you need to be repetitive. If you notice that they still don’t understand, then speak clearly until they comprehend.
Adult gerontology primary care is part of what you will learn in the online MSN-AGNP program from the University of Indianapolis. The course gives you a clearer understanding of the unique concerns of adults of all ages. As a graduate, you will play a crucial role in improving the quality of life of these adults. After the online program, you get clinical placement and proactive support from your supervisor.
Older adults deserve to be respected regardless of their condition. This sentiment is necessary during treatment. While elderly patients may acknowledge their weaknesses, they know that they are older and deserve respect. It is essential to acknowledge this truth about them and stick to it. This helps bridge the communication gap.
As simple as this may sound, listening is important for many. While treating seniors, don’t just give instructions – allow them to express themselves. They also need to communicate any side effects of the drugs and if they feel pain. They trust you with their lives, so you should listen to them.
Also, pay attention to nonverbal clues such as nodding, eye contact, and body language. Many nurses want to say a lot to these patients and slam the door afterward. This is not fair to them. Even when it feels like they’re talking too much, listen. When you don’t understand them, ask for clarification. If you’re assigned to a patient, you’re responsible for them and must do everything to keep them comfortable. Your job gives you the autonomy to improve the quality of a patient’s life.
Being a healthcare provider means that you are privy to some information about a patient’s health. However, you should not divulge this information to ailing patients to get in their good books. You must understand their background, religion, and beliefs first. This helps you understand them better and know what you should share. At this stage of their lives, assumptions don’t help. You should either tell them straight or find a way to sugarcoat it. The bottom line is that you should be sincere with your patients.
Make them comfortable
Physical and emotional comfort is crucial in caring for elderly patients. Alleviating their physical discomfort helps to eradicate distractions that could interfere during treatment. Maintaining comfort for these patients could prove difficult, especially for those with multiple illnesses, but it is attainable. The internet has numerous resources to help you make your patient comfortable. You can check them out and experiment with as many as possible until you get them right.
Patients trust nurses better if they feel that they understand their concerns. Ask them how they are feeling if you are worried that something is wrong with them. Talk in a soft voice while showing your concern. Do your best to provide a calm environment for them. When they are feeling depressed, make an effort to speak to them.
Communication breakdown is the fastest way to make a treatment fail. Care providers catering to patients over the age of 65 must understand the importance of effective communication. By treating each patient as a unique individual, you achieve positive outcomes.