The social care landscape is changing: the future of elderly care will now be in people’s own homes and, with that, comes a growing need for homecare nurses. Too often, a negative attitude of elderly care nursing prevails – that it can be a landing spot for less qualified nurses. However, this profession is one that should be highly valued, combining a set of key skills and qualities that are essential to delivering the quality care that allows people to age with dignity. Here are five that we consider to be essential to this role:
Respect for the Elderly
As people age and start to lose control of their faculties, it can be easy to lose sight of their individuality – who they see themselves as; their place in their world; their hobbies and interests. Faced with daily challenges of sensory loss, memory impairment, and physical disability, it can be an unenviable task for a nurse to get through to the person inside, to make them feel recognised and valid. Tremendous patience, determination and kindness is required.
Powers of Assessment
A good elderly care nurse will possess keen powers of observation, and be adept at assessing the subtle signs of a person’s deterioration or improvement. They will be skilled at assessing and caring for their psychological and social well-being, determining what the individual needs to continue to derive enjoyment from life.
The ability to communicate is crucial to any healthcare role, but particularly for those working with the elderly, who so often have retreated into an inner world, or are suffering from dementia or Alzheimers. To tune into and decipher a patient’s needs in such circumstances is a particular skill, even a gift, and something that can greatly ease the confusion and disorientation experienced by elderly patients.
Not a skill that is immediately associated with the healthcare professions, creativity is a trait that is becoming more and more useful for nurses in this field. For an elderly care nurse dedicated to improving her patient’s quality of life, thinking outside the box can present new ways to divert and engage them, and introduce a welcome change of rhythm to their daily routines.
Older people generally fall at the mercy of other people’s schedules as they grow increasingly dependent, whether they are residents of a nursing home, or being cared for by a family member. With this comes a huge loss of personal freedom and individualism, leading to depression for many. Being conscious of this, and allowing some flexibility and freedom of choice wherever possible, can improve a person’s quality of life dramatically. By simply involving a person in small daily decisions, such as what they will wear or eat, enables them to still feel some semblance of control in their own life.
As our Baby Boomer population approaches old age, and the average age expectancy continuing to rise, there will be more need than ever for elderly care nurses with a genuine passion for what they do. Despite the challenges, the rewards for both nurses and their patients are great. There can be no finer profession than to enable another person to preserve their dignity, individuality and self-esteem for as long as possible.
Speak to Us Today
To speak to a member of our Nursing Division about Elderly Care Nurse positions across the country, contact us today for more information.
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