When older people become acutely ill or suffer an injury, and require surgical or medical admission to hospital, they may lose confidence in their own bodies and physical abilities. They may feel very vulnerable and dependent upon the hospital staff, and might find it difficult to regain a sense of independence. An important task for the acute care nurse is to help and encourage the older patient to do as much for themselves as they are able.
There are many ways that nurses can facilitate older patients' sense of independence while in hospital. Ensuring that pain relief is adequate so that they can move about more helps them to maintain their muscular fitness. Giving them easy-to-understand information about their health conditions and treatments can also empower them to be in better control of their health.