How Nurses Play an Important Role at Nursing Homes

Nurse with Elderly ManIf a negative incident occurs at a nursing home, it is given an unbalanced and biased amount of attention, as good news and standard procedures that are not newsworthy never get to top billing; subsequently, very little appreciation is shown for the staff at nursing homes, specifically, the hard work nurses do to tend to the elderly.

It may look easy but caring for people in their old age can be quite of a challenge. They have their moods and preferences, their emotions are often heightened and meltdowns over the smallest of things can be an everyday routine; some also completely shut themselves up. They have health conditions that require constant attention and understanding in order to be handled well. Being in such an intense environment can often take a toll but a significant majority of nurses try to give their best to make the lives of the elderly and their stay at senior homes worthwhile.

Mental Illnesses

The most challenging part about senior living is dealing with mental illnesses. The life events and harshness of experiences often leaves them with a lot to deal with in old age. Additionally, the age and physical condition also take their toll. Many people fall victim to degenerative diseases in their old age. More often than not, they also face comorbid disorders and diseases which further worsen their condition. Disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s leave them completely dependent on others and unable to manage their most basic needs as well. Depression, too, is very common in old age. Nurses play a very important role as a communicator, supporter, friend and even more in giving the elderly the kind of attention they need. Their presence is often the source of happiness for many. A lot of nurses go out of their way to make sure that they are happy and comfortable.

Physical Illnesses

Physical healthcare is very important in the old age. The healthcare system itself is burdened with the problem of understaffing due to the increasing number of people in old age; which is expected to increase further in the coming years. Attending to their medical needs, keeping everything up to date and organized, and providing instant care in case of an emergency constitutes the regular job of nurses. However, there are times where things take a turn for the worse and their condition deteriorates even further. We need to consider how emotionally and physically stressful the job of a nurse is. It is not easy to see people fighting diseases, loneliness, disorders and heartbreak.

Nurses work beyond their capacity in many places. A little appreciation can lift up their spirits and encourage them to give their best in the future too. A few black-sheep should not malign the hard, laborious and selfless efforts of the many.

Taking Care of Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury could be of a primary or of a secondary nature but in any case, a patient must never be left alone. Patients with traumatic brain injuries must be provided with critical care by experienced and learned nurses. While a person with a harsher head injury must be kept in the hospital till they completely recover, the ones with mild head injuries can be left at home but only under the care of a nurse and with the doctor’s permission.

It is difficult to figure out the caring procedures of traumatic injuries. To make it easy, here are some of the basic rules:

Neurological Assessment:

The vitals and neurological conditions of a patient must be regularly assessed. The assessment must involve testing the reflexes, muscle posturing, the size of pupil and reactivity, breathing pattern, pain response and spontaneous movement.

Dealing With Anxiety:

Depending on the circumstances of the injury, anxiety is a common side effect that is observed in the patients with a head injury. A nurse must assess the patient’s level of anxiety and use tactics to reduce such episodes. Activities such as visualization, deep breathing and, in extreme cases, sedatives must be involved to bring the anxiety under control.

Brain Oxygen:

It is important that adequate levels of oxygen are provided to the brain tissues. It not only helps in taking care of the patient, but also helps the patient in their recovery.

Behavioral Change:

It is natural to find extreme behavioral changes in the patient. A very polite speaking person might turn into a loud and frustrated one. A brain injury brings along a series of psychological, emotional and intellectual impairments. Nurses and family members have to be very patient and figure out a way to deal with it based on combined effort. In many head injuries, there is also a high chance of memory loss. In this case, a list of things must be kept to help ease the patient through this tough time.

Rest:

It is the responsibility of the nursing staff to make sure that the patient gets enough rest throughout the day. It is best to avoid any sort of extreme physical activity or mental stress that might affect the head injury.

Intake:

Medication must be given to the patient on time. Also, use of drugs or alcohol should not be allowed in such a condition.

A head injury is a very critical injury and if not taken proper care of, it might result in some long term and permanent damage to the patient.

 

Tips for Ensuring the Safety of the Elderly

People become more susceptible to accidents, injuries and various health issues as they age, particularly those who live alone because no one is there to take care of them or assist them in their daily activities.

If your parents are living alone or spend most of their time alone because of your work or study, make sure to take certain steps to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Health safety

Since health issues are common among the elderly, it is important to take measures for ensuring their health security which include but are not limited to:

  • Maintain a file of their medical records, including all their reports and prescriptions
  • Label the medicines clearly so that they know when and how each medicine should be taken
  • Make sure they have enough quantity of healthy food
  • Dispose of all the old and expired medicines to avoid any confusions and emergencies
  • Regularly take them to the doctor

General Home Safety

Seniors can meet accidents and get injured due to falls, which become common as they age. To prevent them, make sure:

  • The flooring is non-slippery
  • Install support bars or handles all over their home
  • Either remove rugs or properly tape them to the floor as trips and falls usually happen because of rugs.
  • Clear hallways and staircases of all the obstacles
  • Make sure there is proper lighting everywhere
  • Wear comfortable and flat shoes
  • Install fire and safety alarms and check them regularly to ensure they are not out of order
  • Keep the doors and windows locked

Kitchen and Bathroom Safety

  • Avoid using the stove as much as possible
  • Install smoke detectors and keep checking their batteries to make sure they are working properly
  • Do not leave the food unattended on the stove
  • Install support handles everywhere in bathroom. This include near bathtub or shower, near washbasin and in toilet area.
  • At night time, leave the bathroom light open
  • Keep a spare bathroom key or use locks that can be opened from both sides
  • Always keep the bathroom floor dry
  • Place non-slippery mats to prevent falls and slips

Safety outside home

  • Do not carry too much cash while going out
  • Drive carefully
  • Always lock your car doors whenever you get in and out of the car
  • Do not place your valuables in the car
  • Never place the home’s spare key in your car
  • Always carry the telephone number of a family members or friend so that they can be contacted in case of any emergency
  • Before getting into your car, always check its back seat to make sure no one is hiding there

Consider sending them to a nursing home

If the elderly are suffering from any serious disease, need constant supervision or cannot carry out even the basic tasks without assistance, it is better that you consider sending them to a reliable and reputable nursing home to ensure their safety and health. Nursing homes provide seniors both medical supervision and help in carrying out daily tasks to make their lives better and easier. Although the decision for sending your parent/s to a nursing home is difficult to make, but you need to take the difficult step if that is necessary for their well-being.   

Bonus Tip: Write down all emergency numbers on paper and make two copies of it. Hang one in your home at a place where they are easily accessible and keep the second copy in the bag or wallet of your parent/s.

Five Valuable Lessons to Learn from Florence Nightingale

Florence NightingaleIf there is a person who could be credited for making nursing a legitimate profession in the healthcare sector, it is Florence Nightingale. The Lady with the Lamp, an advocate of the fundamental healthcare rights of war veterans and wounded soldiers, she was truly a golden ray of light in the war-stricken era of the 19th century. Nightingale embarked upon her nursing career within the Crimean War, tending to the injured soldiers on the battlefield.

In addition to caring for the troops, she also provided designs for better sanitary conditions of the patients in hospitals. In this regard, Nightingale was a remarkable hospital administrator. Even to this day, in the highly evolved healthcare industry, we can trace back many of the medical innovations in hospitals back to Florence Nightingale.

Here are five valuable lessons that we can learn from Florence Nightingale:

Valor and Audacity

Florence Nightingale was born to an aristocratic British family, but her affluence did not come in the way of her work. She was full of valor and quite audacious whenever the situation demanded. She was courageous enough to ask the Queen of England for political backing, or the public for funding, and succeeded in these endeavors. Nightingale really understood the essence of the word privilege – she made use of her advantages to fight for the rights of the deprived.

Logic and Discipline

Florence wasn’t the sort of a person who would make an argument without sufficient facts. One cannot possibly eliminate the role Nightingale played at Scutari, Turkey. In order to make people realize the horrifying conditions of the British army hospitals in the war zone, she charted out death rates and infections amongst the soldiers. Her discipline and logic are notable, for she proved her point with facts. Her revolutionary action plan depicts that common sense and discipline are essential to be effective.

Compassion

She was a compassionate individual – she understood that patient care involves empathizing with them. Her intrinsic compassion wanted her to do something more for her wards at the barrack hospital than just drinking. Therefore, she decided to lay the foundation of a patient library, so that the wounded would be able to occupy themselves with something substantial.  Her compassion and empathy, today, make us realize the importance of truly interacting with the sick for their wellbeing.

Just and Fair

Quite contrary to the radical mindset of Victorian England, Nightingale was a firm believer that to perform triage, medical conditions of the patient held more value than the rank of the militia. Even though her methods are outdated today, her just and fair ways are important lessons that need to be highlighted.

Initiative

Florence Nightingale wasn’t a person who believed in giving up. She took initiatives and was not hindered by obstacles. When she was informed that there was no funding to refurbish a demolished hospital wing, she somehow managed to finance it and hired a Turkish crew to accomplish the task. Today, we can tackle challenging situations if we follow the path of Florence Nightingale and not find excuses for our shortcomings.