Nursing Skills and Interventions

The skills needed by a nurse working in aged care are extremely diverse, but probably the most important attributes are being a good listener and having true empathy for older people and their families and carers. A good listener will understand the client's need to make choices, their discomforts, and their family's concerns. A nurse who can truly empathise will work to make the client feel fulfilled, valued, worthwhile and comfortable. Such work may involve counselling and working with grief and loss, and it may also involve the management of chronic illness, incontinence, pain, and wounds. When clients near the end of their lives, it may also involve palliative care.

Nurse sitting down with a patient

Importantly, aged care nurses need to be astute in their observation of older clients, continuously assesing function and health status. They need to be able to analyse these data and know when to consult with other members of the multidisciplinary team. Of course, they must always be aware of their own scope of practice, maintain proper documentation, and practice within an ethical and legal framework. In essence, may of the skills and interventions involved in quality aged care, centre around ongoing and effective communication.

Thinking Challenge

One of the issues which arises in both residential and acute care settings is that of physical restraint of frail older people. The document in the link below discusses alternatives to the use of physical restraint.

  • How does the article define physical restraint? What other kinds of restraint can you think of?
  • What are need driven behaviours and how do they sometimes lead to situations where restraint may be considered?
  • While restraint is usually used to prevent injury, it may also cause injury. What are the alternatives to using physical restraint and which ones seem the most practical to you?