Guest Post from Theresa M. Pritchett, Client Care Manager
One of the most profound moments of my nursing career occurred upon the completing of my nursing studies during my Pinning Ceremony – a symbolic welcoming of newly graduated nurses into the nursing profession. During the ceremony, we were required to recite the International Pledge for Nurses. The words of this pledge struck me to the core, as these words were the very reason I decided to become a nurse and specialize in gerontology. As a newly graduated nurse, I promised to:
- Care for the sick with all the skills and understanding I possess without regard for race, creed, color, politics or social status, sparing no effort to conserve life, to alleviate suffering and to promote health;
- Respect at all times the dignity and religious belief of the patients under my care, holding in confidence all personal information entrusted to me and refraining from any action that might endanger life or health;
- Endeavor to keep my professional knowledge and skills at the highest level and to give local support and cooperation to all members of the health team;
- Honor the international code of ethics applied to nursing and to uphold the integrity of the professional nurse.
Imagine waking up one day and noticing a change in your mental status or a change in your functional ability. In order for one to care for the elderly, it is important to understand the physiologic changes that occur with the aging body systems. Cardiac output decreases and blood pressure increase. The lungs start to show impaired gas exchange, decrease in vital capacity and slower expiratory flow rates, therefore making it harder to breath. Changes in mobility patterns occur in the gastrointestinal system, which affects the way the body metabolizes drugs and places the elderly at risk for constipation and adverse drug reactions.
Osteoporosis is frequently seen due to decline in bone mass. The epidermis of the skin atrophies with age, with decreased collagen and elastin placing the elderly at risk for skin tears and infection. Degenerative changes occur in the joints as well as decreased muscle tone predisposing issues with mobility.
One program that works is the Balanced Care Method. The Balanced Care Method promotes smart lifestyle choices to include healthy nutrition, sense of purpose and physical and mental stimulation. Caregivers should bring meaning and purpose to our elderly by focusing on the need of mind, body and spirit.
Mind, body and spirit are seen as essential components to remember when planning for the elderly. We must de-emphasize aging as characterized by decline. We must reinforce positive pathways of aging to ensure a meaningful life. Successful aging goals should include maintaining physical function, maintaining mental function, avoiding disease and enjoying life.
Home Care Assistance caregivers are all Certified Nursing Assistances (CNAs), trained to advocate for their clients and to allow them to maintain their independence and quality of life. Visit our website at www.homecareassistanceannapolis.com for additional information on how we are changing the way the world ages. Call 443-302-2771 today for a free nursing and in-home assessment.