Tips For Health Professionals Of Acute And Chronic Health Problems In Older Adults

Health & Fitnessby Abdul Aziz Mondal24 March 2023

Tips For Health Professionals

Healthcare professionals face a plethora of challenges when managing patients in the hospital. However, patients on the extremes of the age spectrum are the most difficult to handle. Whether young children are unwilling to cooperate or elderly patients cannot understand the treatment procedures, competent healthcare providers should be able to navigate their complications and resolve their concerns effectively. 

Acute conditions, such as pneumonia, appendicitis, sprains, and broken bones, usually result from illness or trauma. They are short-lived but put significant strain on a person’s immune system. Thus, they must be managed promptly to prevent them from causing permanent damage, possibly leading to death. 

On the other hand, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and osteoporosis are usually not life-threatening. Still, their long-term nature can significantly reduce the patient’s quality of life. Moreover, treating such conditions entangle patients in a web of having to visit multiple healthcare professionals in different locations and all the while taking and going through various other medications and treatments. 

Today we’ll focus on the latter and provide tips to help you successfully manage older patients suffering from acute and chronic diseases. “Additionally, it’s essential to consider diseases that cause dehydration in adults, as these can exacerbate the symptoms of chronic conditions and further complicate their management.”

1. Always Be Prepared:

Healthcare providers should always strive to keep themselves up to date. The medical field is ever-evolving, and new revolutionary technologies and practices are being introduced daily. Healthcare providers should familiarize themselves with relevant clinic practice guidelines while sharing and obtaining information from other caretakers worldwide. Moreover, they should understand that getting a bachelor’s degree is not the end of one’s education. Instead, care providers should aim for a master’s degree in health care. The course will help you understand more about the aging process, which is crucial to managing chronic health problems as well as acute illnesses.

2. Aging Complicates Recovery:

Aging Complicates Recovery

Older patients tend to be more prone to illness and take longer time to recover as the immune system weakens with age. A healthcare provider should consider this when treating the elderly and look for signs of declining health due to acute or chronic illnesses. These include but are not limited to unintentional weight loss, constant feelings of weakness or fatigue, declining mental aptitude, episodes of dementia, and muscle loss. While frailty due to old age is not curable, identifying these signs and symptoms promptly and addressing them can reduce their impact with the help of a well-thought-out supportive plan.

3. Detailed Medical History:

A detailed medical history forms the backbone of a successful treatment. A healthcare professional has to be exceptionally patient with older patients and allow them to tell their stories, not trying to rush the diagnosis. One should opt for open-ended questions to get more details about the patient’s medication, lifestyle, or health status changes throughout the treatment. Requesting medical records from family members can help you better understand their previous illnesses and medications. Moreover, focusing not only on the presenting complaint but other ailments the patient might be inflicted with can prevent complications later. This is especially true for patients suffering from other long-term chronic conditions. When dealing with acute conditions, a quick ADL assessment can provide insight into an elderly patient’s functional status. A detailed history-taking session may seem counterintuitive when dealing with acute conditions, but it can save time and resources in the long run. Moreover, it can also reduce the chances of treatment-related complications, a fact that many healthcare professionals need to acknowledge.

 4. Potential Medical Complications During Recovery:

Elderly patients require close monitoring of their treatment progress to ensure they don’t suffer from complications during their recovery. A healthcare professional should be aware that laying stationary on the bed during extended hospital stays can develop pressure sores (bed sores). Therefore, the patient’s position should be regularly changed, and proper dressing should be applied to help the ulcer heal.

Accidental slips and falls are another hazard elder patients prone to; prevention and immediate management of such complications are essential as they can significantly delay recovery. Hospital-acquired delirium is a temporary but severe complication that caregivers must be aware of; sudden unusual behavior, confusion, and emotional disturbance should be identified and managed promptly. Adverse reactions to drugs or the administration of incorrect medicine is a rare but not impossible occurrence, and healthcare providers should be prepared to handle such stressful situations.

Nosocomial or hospital-acquired infection via excessive antibiotic use, invasive procedures, or ventilator associate pneumonia can affect both acute and chronically ill elders. Still, patients on extended hospital stays are more at risk of acquiring them. A competent professional should be able to keep a level head while handling such situations. Their levelheadedness can be the difference between a patient saved and a life lost.

5. Patient-Centric Approach:

Healthcare providers should be able to put themselves in their patient’s shoes and strive to take a patient-centric approach. Elderly patients and their families should be kept in the loop about the prognosis of their illness, how it may impact their lifestyle, the cost, and the duration of treatment. Furthermore, patients should be educated about solutions to help cope with changes to their routine due to the disease. Another essential precaution that caretakers should take is to avoid making assumptions about the patient’s treatment plan. Instead, a better approach is to discuss alternative treatment options alongside the preferred treatment and get the patient’s consent to a particular course of treatment. Elderly patients may be suffering from multiple chronic conditions and their presenting ailments. A physician should form an action plan including a list of medications the patient is on, symptoms that merit a doctor’s visit, and other vital medical records and keep it up to date.

6. Discussing Sensitive Topics:

A competent heal care provider must be able to discuss sensitive topics in a companionate yet professional manner. While ensuring the patient does not feel forced to share that information. Healthcare costs, elder abuse, depression, and social isolation should be handled professionally. Moreover, sharing anecdotes about patients in similar circumstances while maintaining patient confidentiality can help others open up about their issues.  

The Takeaway:

Dealing with acute and chronic conditions in geriatric patients can initially seem daunting due to their apparent frailty. Still, with proper education, patience, and practice, a healthcare provider can help older patients when they are at their most venerable state and hasten their recovery. This is not only rewarding financially but emotionally as well.

Read Also:

Abdul Aziz Mondal

Abdul Aziz Mondol is a professional blogger who is having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of his professional commitments, he loves to share content related to business, finance, technology, and the gaming niche.

View All Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like