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Long Term Health Care Needs Of The Elderly

1983 words - 8 pages

Abstract
As life expectancy increases the number of older adults requiring long-term care of some kind increases. These adults have varying needs, but most adults have problems with skin integrity, muscle weakness, and emotional issues in long-term care facilities. Interventions to meet these needs focus on preventing skin break down, improving muscle strength to prevent falls, and settings that promote usefulness and a feeling of not being alone. Current options available to older adults may not meet all of their needs, and creativity is needed in devising interventions to meet these needs. Structuring long-term care settings to encourage activity in older adults and connecting with other ...view middle of the document...

These needs not only include the type of long-term care setting to choose, but also encompass the special needs adults have as they age. These special needs include problems with skin breakdown, injuries that occur due to muscle weakness, and emotional issues such as feelings of loneliness or uselessness and even depression. All of these problems must be addressed if older adults are to function at the most independent level possible and have satisfaction in living (Joy & Fong, 2000).
Interventions and Expected Outcomes
Current options available for older adults needing long-term healthcare include adult day care programs, homecare services, retirement communities, residential care facilities, and skilled care facilities. Not all of these options are available in all areas. Adult day care programs provide supervised supportive care services for the elderly for a portion of the day. Homecare services allow the elderly to remain in their homes and have healthcare services come to them. Retirement communities offer independent living for elderly who may or may not need medical services. Residential Care facilities allow the elderly to have their healthcare needs met in a home like setting, and usually have 15 or fewer residents. Skilled nursing facilities provide healthcare care to elderly that require 24 hour nursing care (Joy & Fong, 2000). While these options meet many needs of older adults there are some needs that frequently are not met. Three areas where needs are often not met are skin integrity, muscle weakness, and emotional support.
As adults age their skin integrity deteriorates over time. This change results in a decreased ability of the skin to act as a barrier to pathogens. The skin of an older adult is also easier to irritate, and can break down easily. One study by the Joanna Briggs Institute (2007) offered evidence based practices that can be utilized in the care of older adults in long-term care settings. From the research that is available the study found one way that skin deterioration can be prevented is by using disposable absorbent underpants rather than reusable underpants. Many older adults have trouble with incontinence, and disposable absorbent underpants help to keep urine away from the skin of an older adult. This helps to prevent skin breakdown that can be caused from direct contact of the older adult’s skin with urine. Older adults also have trouble with pressure sores due to decreased mobility, and the Joanna Briggs Institute (2007) study offered evidence based practice interventions that can be used to help prevent pressure sores. The study found that using no-rinse cleansers instead of soap and water could reduce pressure sores. Soap and water can dry the skin and cause increased breakdown, leading to unhealthy skin and a greater risk of pressure sores (Joanna Briggs Institute, 2007).
Aging adults often have problems with muscle weakness due to decreased activity. One study by Kato, Izumi, Hiramatsu, and...

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