The Issues facing End of Life Care in Geriatric Patients
In most cases, the senior population experiences a series of diseases such as heart conditions, diabetes, arthritis, mental disorders among others that are associated with aging. These diseases make them spend most of their time in hospital or home care. The thing is the place of care for the patient can be his or her death place. Most of this population has a strong preference and reasons to want to die to a specific location. Besides the issue of the place of death, the end-of-life care also faces some challenges mainly because of the constant increase in the elderly patients resulting in the high cost of care. This is a challenge because it strains the health budget. The issue of end of life further presents strong emotional difficulties to significant others of the elderly, as well as healthcare providers facilitating the end-of-life care. The primary cause of challenges surrounding end-of-life decision is that it must be done within the context of social, psychological, and physical experience of the geriatric patient.
The gradual change in demographics on health care systems has contributed to the current end-of-life care challenges the aged patients are facing today. These problems are precisely implicated in the context of complex financial, public health, and socio-cultural boundaries. Studies have shown that increased cost of care of geriatric patients, cost of facilitating quality of life all through the end-of-life care period, and outlined strategies to assist the unique care makes the process complex. A good example of one of the challenges end-of-life care face is when elderly patients want to die at home, but a good number of this population are admitted in emergencies and it might not be viable to release them because they may need special treatment that are unavailable at home. To deal with this problem government and other relevant stakeholders in health sector are developing policies that permit patients to select the place they want to spend their last day on earth.
While end-of-life may be seen as mainly the concern of the patient, their families also face a difficult time particularly in coming up with the final decision to end-of-life of their loved one. At this point, nurses play a central role in facilitating the process. The nurse play as an advocate for the geriatric patient by making sure the patient’s will is fulfilled. The nurse manages to do this by providing compassionate and comfortable care and at the same time communicate and coordinate with the patient, family members, and hospital management to make sure everything is in tandem. The nurse closely works with the rest of the hospice team and family to see to it the patient end-of-life is the preferred location. The nurse’s main concern is the elderly patient and therefore has to ascertain his or her wishes are honored. Nurse, therefore, maintains focus on the geriatric patient to ensure their place of death is their preferred choice. The nurse, however, must continue to support the family of the patient and ensure they facilitate in fulfilling the wishes of the aged patient regarding his or her preferred place of death.