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Latest News from Marian College, School of Nursing

Tips for Nurses that Work with Elderly Patients

tips nurses elderly patientsWhen you begin working as a nurse, whether as a vocational nurse or as a registered nurse for a nursing care facility, you will be exposed to many elderly patients. However, the difference is that elderly patients should be handled with a special type of care – comforting care, if you will.

Pure Compassion & Understanding

Elderly nursing is also referred to geriatric nursing, and often requires a special type of patient care that involves two things:

• Compassion
• Understanding

By making the decision to start a career in nursing, chances are you do possess these characteristics at least to some degree.

Battling Depression

Here’s the thing about elderly patients: they are prone to medical conditions that will require a nurse’s sincere dedication in order to keep them in check.

Growing old isn’t easy and for some seniors the news of a terminal illness or other chronic medical condition is enough to send them spiraling into depression. It’s estimated that roughly 20% of seniors aged 65 and older suffer from depression. That’s a lot of seniors.

It’s not just medical conditions, but for some seniors the transition into a nursing care facility or nursing home is not easy. Knowing how to comfort seniors who suffer from depression will restore some life in them & that positivity alone will keep them strong both mentally & physically.

So What Can I Do?

Listen.

First and foremost, the absolute best thing you can do is to listen to them. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, simply listening to seniors tell their stories & experiences will really make them feel important and cared for. Truth be told, most seniors feel as if they are useless and provide no value to society. However, most of them have really interesting stories & life lessons to share and by listening to them it becomes a win-win situation: they feel useful & you may learn a thing or two from their experiences.

Be encouraging.

Secondly, you need to be encouraging. And by this we mean encourage them to see the bright side of life. You need to be encouraging both on a mental level & on a physical level. Encourage them to be social & to become more physical by asking them certain questions such as “did you emerge as the Bingo champion the other night?” A simple question can go a long way. Based on their response you can follow up with an actionable request that encourages them to stay positive and strong.

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