Nursing Skills and Interventions

Nurses need to develop particular skills for working with older people. The most important skill is good communication: empathetic, patient, effective communication.

Assessment of the older person should be holistic (taking in all aspects of the person’s situation).

Show transcript

Well I think one thing nurses should be aware of is that they should regard us as equals. You know, it’s so easy to think that because we’re old, wrinkled and sometimes frail that our mind has gone too, but in actual fact I think it’s a safe thing to say that we are just as intelligent as any nurse in general.

If they assume that they are talking to equals, the next thing that they need to ask I think is a little bit about us, it will only take a couple of minutes, but just say; what are your interests, what do you normally do in life, what did you do before. Then they will know whether they’re talking to somebody who does need a little bit of assistance or whether they’re talking to somebody who really is equal, mentally and physically.

Nurses should communicate with older people by remembering, first of all, that we are human beings. Look I know we are very old and we’ve have wrinkles but our chronological age has nothing what so ever to do with how we feel inside. Most of us if they’re anything like me stop growing old at 35 and that’s the way we are.

I think one of the biggest mistakes that nurses make when they’re talking to older people is that they talk down to them. One of our biggest hates is ; “upsy daisy dear...!”. I mean to say. One of the other things they tend to do is talk to us as if we are children, they also tend at times to even want to boss us about. I think a nurse has jolly well got to remember that just because they’re a nurse it doesn’t mean that that gives them that right to boss us about. There are there to care for us, they are not there to assume that they have the right to tell us what to do.

Thinking Challenge

In the video, Val talks about how to communicate effectively with older people.

  • What are the main three points that she makes about communicating respectfully and effectively with older clients?
  • In the linked webpages below, there are several basic skills and points about relating to older adults. Which of these correspond with what Val was saying about communicating with older people and why?
  • Reflecting on the main points and skills that you identified above, what implications does this have for the way that you address and approach your older clients?