Encouragingly, however, there has also been a movement away from institutionalizing the elderly towards a home-care system. In such cases, the long-term care nurse would reside permanently, or spend part of a working day, at the patient’s home. Some elderly move in with their grown children, with nurses caring for them at these locations. In many respects, this appears to be a more humane solution to the end-of-life care situation.
Because society is moving towards all who do not have the ability to care properly for themselves, including the elderly, I believe the nurse in this worthy aspect of the profession should receive due attention via research and academic publication.
As will be addressed later, the UK particularly is experiencing some difficulties with end-of-life care legislation and related issues. Nursing professionals are in a position to make considerable difference in this regard. They work with the elderly on a daily basis, and can submit letters and documentation related to the specific needs and requirements in terms of their patients’ rights.
Patient rights are then also a very important aspect of the nurse’s roles and responsibilities in the life of the aging patient. Particularly in the advanced stages of their lives, patients need to be treated with both respect and dignity. Nurses can then serve as an inspiring force for the communities where they work.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Long-Term Care Nurse
According to Stephen H. Close (2008), the roles and responsibilities of the Long-Term Care Nursing professional is directly connected to the phenomenon of ageing and the issues occurring concomitantly with this phenomenon. Advances in the medical profession have resulted in much greater human longevity, which means a greater amount of the elderly. At the advanced stages of life, it is also a fact that many of these people need assistance with their daily routine. This is the primary responsibility of the Long-Term Care Nurse.
Assisted care occurs in a variety of settings, according to Close (2008). These may include formal facilities instituted for this purpose, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, while nurses also work with the elderly in hospitals and in their homes. The particular setting depends upon the specific needs of the person needing assistance. This decision can also be made with the help of the nursing professional. Most elderly persons are housed in skilled nursing homes, which are specifically geared towards care for the elderly.
In addition to providing assistance with daily routines such as dressing and bathing, the long-term nurse will also provide assistance with medication and moving around from place to place. Some elderly persons will for example require wheel chairs or assistance with walking.
A further duty is assisting those suffering from chronic medical or psychological conditions. Many of the elderly for example suffer from conditions such as dementia, schizophrenia, some forms of cancer, or other ailments. In this regard, a nursing professional with the appropriate background would be assigned to the person involved. The long-term care nurse is then often required to have a multi-disciplinary background that extends not only to medicine, but also to psychology.
Care for the elderly involves an interdisciplinary focus, where psychiatrists, medical doctors,