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 Raychel Clark
Nursing is one of the most associated fields of study that relate to in-home senior care. As a student just being introduced into the knowledge of nursing I have been taught a lot about the nursing process and safety which all relate to improving in-home senior care. I am an example of the progress in nursing education to better care for those patients in the healthcare system. The more young and upcoming nurses are being educated about the proper procedures and thoroughness of care as well as the less in-home accidents and complications there will be. So far in my education I have been taught about some very specific aspects to be aware of when taking care of seniors: fall risks, medication administration, education, and the application of the nursing process.
In my nursing fundamentals class we discussed how and why people are fall risks and the elderly are especially susceptible to falling in the hospital and home. Ways to improve fall risks in home are allowing for items of daily use to be accessible. For example, not putting the peanut butter on the top shelf of the pantry where it can’t be reached without a stool. Another way that fall risks can be reduced is monitoring how much physical activity the person does so that they don’t overdo themselves. When nurses are aware of how to prevent these risks and makes sure that an in-home senior is safe from fall risks their quality of life improves dramatically.
Proper medication administration is vital in improving the lives of seniors receiving in-home care. Nurses must verify the patient, medication, and dosage. Even seniors that take their own medication can often times become confused and mix up their medications if they aren’t properly separated. Having a nurse help the senior monitor their medication can help reduce the risk of injuries, fatalities, and emergencies that can come to the elderly when taking medications. An in-home senior that can clearly identify their medications and have no problem taking them as a result of clear communication from the nurse to the patient will have a higher quality of life.
One of the most important aspects that nurses are being trained on to improve in-home senior living is education. Properly educating the person who is living in home to take the right medications, not perform in risky behavior, and good health care strategies can eliminate the complications that in-home seniors experience. The most important form of education is for the patient to explain and demonstrate the procedures to the nurse so that it is clear that they have a good understanding.
Nursing will ultimately change the quality of in-home senior care because the education nurses are receiving is continually improving. Not only new advancements in technology help to improve the lives of seniors, but the extensive training nurses are required to go through in order to provide the best healthcare possible. Systems like the nursing process and evidence-based practice is proof that nursing is making leaps and bounds in adapting care needed by the growing elderly population. The specific aspects above are good indicators of this growing advancement in knowledge about how to care for in-home seniors. Nursing will continue to grow and create new ways to improve the lives of in-home seniors.
Raychel is currently a sophomore at George Fox University where she is studying to become a nurse.