Nursing Skills and Interventions

The acute care of older patients requires nurses to develop and utilise a range of interrelated skills and interventions. The nurse will need to be able to communicate effectively with the older patient and their family in order to conduct a holistic assessment; coordinate members of the multidisciplinary team to ensure that assessment and interventions are complete; assess risk of falls; assess and manage pain; manage continence issues; care for wounds; assess and manage cognitive impairment (both temporary and progressive). In addition, they will also need to provide health education and promotion and patient advocacy.

A patient listening to a nurse

Importantly, nurses in the acute care setting must ensure that aged-friendly principles are in place. For example, written information should be provided in large print, lighting should be adequate for ease of navigation at night, beds and chairs should not be too low, and mobility aids should be available. Care needs to be taken to ensure quality use of medicines. For example, adverse effects and drug interactions are more likely in older people because of the types and combinations of drugs they may be prescribed, and because of altered drug tolerance and absorption in older age.

Thinking challenge

All acute care environments must now adopt aged-friendly principles, in order to deliver safe and effective care for older patients. These principles underpin the policies, procdeures and practices that are in place in hospital settings. After reading the document in the link below, consider the following questions.

  • What is one of the practices or policies that you are aware of that relates to Principle 1, and how can you be sure that your care of older patients is based on evidence?
  • What are two ways that you can ensure that you are working in a way that is respectful of older clients’ individual cultural, religious and sexual differences?
  • How can you ensure that patient care is delivered in a timely manner, and how might this be monitored?
  • What aspects of hospital design have you already noticed that are aged-friendly?