The healthcare system provides medical assistance in general for people when they fall ill, develop certain conditions that need managing, or suffer an injury. Although this naturally applies to people of all ages, elderly care is perhaps one aspect of the system that is especially important. This is only common sense when you consider the aging population places like the USA are seeing currently and the extra need for medical attention old age often brings.
Due to this, healthcare has a huge responsibility to deliver the best levels of care to older patients and offer them the best outcomes. It also has a responsibility to educate older patients about looking after themselves and engaging with preventative healthcare. Nurses play a key role in this and some of the most popular roles in this niche are vital for improving elderly care.
But what are some of the most common roles in nursing which benefit care older patients receive and how do they do it?
Family nurse practitioners
These high-level nurses play a key role in the overall healthcare system and provide direct primary care to families in a variety of settings. While there are many reasons why you might become an FNP, the chance to have a positive impact on elderly care is one many working FNPs highlight. The online MSN-FNP program from Carson-Newman University is a good choice and a program that is designed to help qualified registered nurses make the next step up in their careers. With flexible online learning and local clinical placements, it is the ideal way to attain the advanced knowledge working as a family nurse practitioner demands.
How do FNPs in the community have a positive impact on elderly care?
For family nurse practitioners who operate in community-based healthcare, the very fact that their work involves treating elderly members of families helps to keep older generations in better shape.
This sees FNPs offering advice on living a healthier lifestyle to elderly patients and passing on key information to them about managing ongoing conditions that older patients tend to suffer from (such as joint pain, balance issues, or diabetes). Many FNPs will also offer annual wellness checks to older patients in their local community and this helps to pick up on any issues which need treating earlier.
Family nurse practitioners in local communities will also provide a variety of services that benefit elderly patients, from performing physical examinations when they are unwell to prescribing medication when required or making referrals to colleagues when specialist help is needed.
What about family nurse practitioners and elderly care in hospitals?
Many FNPs will also work in hospital settings and this sees them have a similarly positive influence on elderly care. This can simply be down to the fact that older people can be more likely to need hospital treatment and the increased contact family nurse practitioners in this setting have with them as a result.
The specific work FNPs do in hospitals in terms of older patients can also have a beneficial influence on elderly care. Many FNPs in this setting for example will assist physicians on minor surgical procedures which then leads to better outcomes for older patients.
They may also spend time engaging with older patients in their care on a personal level and this may include some who have no support network. By doing this, FNPs in hospitals can keep the patient’s spirits up, give them someone to talk to, and help them recover faster.
How can other nursing roles benefit elderly care?
Keeping up with the latest health news is always a fascinating endeavor and looking at how a variety of nursing roles can benefit elderly care shows why. But what other nursing jobs can this apply to?
This might seem an odd choice to begin with, as the role of nurse educator does not see you providing treatment to older patients which then directly benefits elderly care. They do however have a key role to play because they are responsible for training the next generation of nurses who do.
The training nurse educators give is crucial to not only preparing students to offer high-level care to all patients (older ones included) but also treat all patients in the most dignified, ethical way. For educators preparing nurses for specialized roles in elderly care, the in-depth knowledge they pass on is key to ensuring the treatment older patients get delivers the best outcomes.
Nurse research is another role that does not provide direct care to elderly patients but is also very important for improving the level of care older people receive.
As the job title implies, nurse researchers spend their time studying aspects of health and the healthcare system/services from an academic point of view. They develop scientific studies which look into how healthcare services and patient outcomes can be improved.
Many of these studies will focus on elderly care in particular and look at how outcomes for older patients can be boosted. They may also focus on subjects specific to caring for older people, such as why mortality rates from certain conditions have increased in an older demographic.
Home health nurse
This role sees nurses providing care to patients recovering from an illness directly in their own homes. This can often be something elderly patients require, as they may not be able to travel to get the care they need or may have an ongoing condition that is more suitable for home treatment (such as changing a dressing multiple times per day). Nurses who visit elderly patients at home therefore not only enable these patients to access the care needed but to do so in a more convenient way.
Home health nurses can also benefit elderly care by giving patients someone to talk to and stopping them from becoming isolated from the world. This is a real bonus for the patient’s mental health and can help prevent conditions such as depression affecting them.
Nursing is key to the best elderly care
As we’ve explored above, many key nursing roles have a beneficial influence on elderly care. They show that nursing is one part of the healthcare system that is central to providing the very best outcomes for older patients and plays a vital role in boosting the care older people receive.