About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can your major of study improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services?
Essay response by Jessica Marshall
Nurses are at the front line for gerontological healthcare. As a future nurse, my proposed area of study can directly improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services through: evidence based practice, paying attention to detail, and maintaining the art of caring. It is important for nurses to immerse themselves in evidence-based care, which mainly focus on patient-centered care, integrating: activities of daily living, family/support system, and resources to maintain care in-home. Nurses must stay abreast to the issues that are faced in the older adult population such as: how disease affects activities of daily living, appropriate interventions to counteract such obstacles, and how disability (mental/physical/psychological) can be accommodated in the home setting with new technologies.
Any astute nurse pays close attention to detail and is very thorough in planning care. One particular area of interest is in maintaining consistency in pharmacy and prescriptions for older adults. It is important for patients and healthcare providers, such as nurses, to adhere to the rights of medication administration: right patient, right medication, right dose, right route, right time, right documentation, right reason, and right response. As previously stated, it is important for nurses taking care of in-home patients to adhere to guidelines and to continue health education throughout care. This decreases the risk of non-compliance and health risks for the older adult population.
Lastly, the essence of practice for the nursing field is the art of caring. It is especially important for older adults to receive personable care. The older adult population may face isolation, exclusion and powerlessness. It is a goal for Nurses to empower, include patients in planning their care, and encourage social interaction. Some ways nurses have combated social isolation is by maintaining home visitation, sometimes including a dog visit or providing a patient with a plant to care for. In addition, including family members in care, with patient consent, is also important in the case of dementia or in the need for advance directives, when the patient can longer be solely responsible for making decisions. Nurses are able to spend time with patients in a comfortable setting (in-home) and make further assessments on necessary adjustments. This may include, but is not limited to: making sure there are no slip rugs (prevents falls), making sure the older adult in a wheelchair has access to the stove/microwave/door etc., making sure the older adult can eat with the current utensils, making sure the older adult has a safety plan in place in case of fire/fall/accident.
In conclusion, nurses can impact gerontological care in many aspects (research, paying attention to detail, and caring). Nurses are also respected members in the healthcare community, which allows them to be a voice and an advocate for the older adult population. Advocacy can service in policy/procedure making, impact insurance converge, and improve conditions and access to healthcare.
Jessica aspires to obtain a Nurse Practitioner license and eventually Doctorate of Nursing.