The goal of most people is to live well and be independent even during old age. Whether these people are in long-term care facilities, acute care, hospital, nursing homes, or are under in-house care, nurses are the primary caregivers. Therefore, nurses need to understand the aging process to promote healthy aging and respect their patient’s independence and dignity. Nurses must be aware of the diversity in their patients, understand their disparate needs, and provide the care they need.
As a process, healthy aging is the development of capability in people to take care of their health. Older adults are more prone to getting chronic and age-related illnesses. But regardless of the severity and type of the disease, healthy aging is possible.
Healthy aging is a mindset that promotes health, and wellbeing promotion is as important as disease prevention. Nurses being the health gatekeepers, work in various community settings and have a lot to explain regarding healthy aging.
Due to the aging population the manifestation of diseases, the role of nurses has changed immensely. It has expanded from following the physician’s orders to promoting preventive care. Their presence in a healthcare setting has become more meaningful and gained more traction.
But fulfilling such important roles require nurses to have advanced graduate-level degrees. Masters and DNP programs prepare nurses for complicated jobs such as working with the elderly. Anyone working full-time can register for a master’s in the nursing online program and continue working alongside. Once you have the right expertise, managing such duties and understanding their requirements become easier. Here is more on how nurses are promoting healthy aging.
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Nurses provide evidence-based, safe, and person-centered care. In the person-centered practice, nurses remain mindful of patients’ backgrounds, experiences, stories, and what they have been through before. Engaging with patients and making them an integral part of the decision-making are important pillars of Person-centered practice.
Nurses give all the reliable information to their patients and let them decide on their health and wellbeing issues. This way, nurses ensure that their patients feel in control of their life and treatment. Resultantly, this sense of autonomy promotes health and wellbeing. These meaningful interactions also improve patients’ overall knowledge about health and medicine.
Cultural Competence and Respectful Relationships
Nurses display cultural competence while treating their patients. They understand their beliefs, community values, religious and cultural restrictions and provide treatment in a respectful environment. The patients feel respected and show more willingness to participate in the various aspects of their treatment. Their efforts foster safe and professional relationships backed by empathy. They also understand the need for confidentiality and privacy of information, hence adhering to the highest standards. Apart from treating patients, nurses promote a positive view about aging and demonstrate respect and empathy for older people.
Communication skills can promote healthy aging from a long-term perspective. Nurses promote healthy aging by engaging in effective communication. Persuasive and confident nurses can convey their message much more effectively. They can help society abide by a healthy lifestyle and adhere to emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing practices. Studies have shown that some activities taken up during midlife can damage the state of the body in older life. Correction of these detrimental habits can result in healthy aging. The persuasive skills of nurses help a lot in these scenarios. While developing verbal and documentation skills, they consider the barriers that hamper a free flow of information about treatment and care plans.
Active listening is an important part of communication. Until one can focus on what the other person says, there will always be impediments to the flow of information. With active listening, nurses understand their patient’s concerns and the non-verbal cues.
Increase Awareness of Health
An important aspect of a nurse’s job is that they can increase awareness about the mental and physical processes in the later ages. Hence, they can engage in health literacy, an essential aspect of promoting healthy aging. Relevant communication with their patient about what they expect in the later stages of life based on how they should spend their lives now can garner positive results. The relevant information can help the elderly make informed and wiser decisions about their lives. They will also have an improved understanding of their medical care rights. For instance, patients treated by experienced nurses may better care for their health. A wiser nurse can teach tricks to diabetic patients to maintain their blood sugar at an optimal level. Nurses can also help create awareness in aging patients about the new trends in medicine and treatment.
Avoiding Harm Using Evidence-Based Practices
An important principle in assisting healthy aging is that nurses should prevent any harm to the patients. They must review the existing and old practices of treating patients in current scenarios and their usefulness and feasibility. If they don’t set well according to the present circumstances, they must be discarded and replaced by research-backed practices. When implemented in an environment backed by constant feedback, evidence-based practices are the best solution to promote healthy aging.
Promoting Psychological Wellbeing
Psychological wellbeing is as significant as physical wellbeing. It is often the case that people start losing their social companions as they age. On the contrary, socializing and engaging with peers is extremely important. An absence of same-age peers and social interactions can create a sense of isolation and desolation. These feelings are detrimental for people transitioning to the aging phase of their life.
Nurses have a fundamental part to play in promoting healthy aging. As people get older, their needs get changed. They develop communication barriers, lose control of their body and mind and have fewer social relationships. Nurses can solve these issues and promote people’s health and wellbeing over their aging period. Their diversified role as patient care providers can educate people, help patients make informed decisions, and take control of their life.