Essay: Mental Health Aged Care Elective

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Mental Health Aged Care

Mental Health / Aged Care Elective

As human beings progress to age into their sixties, most of their bodily functions are beginning to impair. With diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's, cardiac problems, cerebrovascular diseases (such as strokes), Osteoporosis, and so many more prevalent in senior citizens, it is essential that they are given twenty-four hour care and attention (Bouve College of Health Sciences, 2013). The senior citizens are no longer in a position to care for themselves under the given circumstance of diseases and weak bodily functions. It is not always possible for the immediate family of the senior citizen to be able to provide the twenty-four hour care that they require. This is due to them having various other responsibilities, and issues, which prevent them from exercising this function. This is where nursing homes or old age homes come in.

Nursing homes provide residential care facilities to those elderly patients that require assistance with their daily medical needs. The elderly patients that are usually admitted to such homes are those that have medical conditions severe enough to require nursing expertise but stable enough not to require hospitalization (Seymour, Kumar, & Froggatt, 2011). Nursing homes are very well equipped with medical equipment to cope with whatever condition that their patient is suffering with. The facilities are designed to provide a homely atmosphere in order to make the patient feel welcomed, and comfortable. There is a variety of staff employed by the nursing homes. This includes nurses, social workers, housekeeping, and physical and occupational therapists. The staff combines to form a team that works together to provide the necessary care and supervision to the patient that he/she may require on a daily basis (Reform, 2012). They also assist the patients, those who are incapable of doing so, in maintaining their hygiene by assisting them to the bathroom, bathing them and using measure such as adult diapers. As with patients that have suffered mentally, there are therapists that seek to resolve their personal issues and help relieve them of any mental trauma that they may have experienced, in order to make their medical condition better. Rehabilitation services are also provided to those patients that have recently suffered severe medical conditions, and need to recover the proper usage of their limbs (Kochersberger, Hielema, & Westlund, 1994). The nursing homes basically provide a safe, sterile environment, like a hospital, with the pleasant atmosphere and care of a residence combined, for serving the elderly better.

When being admitted to a nursing home, elderly patients have certain fears. The biggest of these is the feeling the loss of independence (Hough, 2010). They will be highly dependent upon a member of the nursing staff to take care of them, to assist them with their daily bodily functions, to provide them with nutrition and medicine and all sorts of things. Most senior citizens wish to spend their last days in the world with some level of dignity and respect, given that they worked a long hard life. Hence, they wish to be treated with kind and respect when they arrive at a nursing facility and are often insecure about their future (Biedenharn & Normoyle, 1991). There is a level of distrust in the nursing staff by the patient as it is an unknown person whose mercy they are at. The nursing staff can easily abuse their position and/or the patient (Gorbein, 2005).

There have been reports of patient abuse and neglect in the nursing home circuit to the government ever since the late twentieth century (Braithwaite, 2001). Patient abuse includes any intentional mishandling, or verbal degradation of the elderly patient. It also includes any harm or injury suffered by the patient as a result of the negligence or lack of care being given by the nursing staff. Other types of abuses include verbally threatening the patient, emotionally manipulating the patient, sexually abusing the patient and physically injuring and/or manipulating the patient (CBS News, 2012). There is also possibility that the elderly patients are abused by other residents of the same nursing home. When a patient has had a stroke or other medical condition that prohibits them from speaking and/or moving, they can become a target of abuse. Such patients can be hit, sexually abused or have their property stolen. There is also the possibility that, for nursing homes located in high crime areas, and due to the lack of security that is usually encountered at nursing homes, that criminals from the surroundings may enter the facility and abuse the residents.

In a reported case in the United States of America, six nursing home employees were arrested for playing a cruel prank on several patients suffering from dementia. Suffering from dementia, the patients couldn't object to whatever was being done to them in the name of treatment. The employees applied a sticky ointment cream all over seven defenseless elderly residents, in order to make it difficult for the employees coming in the next shift to handle them. Criminal complaints were filed against the perpetrators of the prank, with them being charged with battery committed on an elder or dependent adult, conspiracy and battery committed while on hospital property (State of California Department of Justice: Office of the Attorney General, 2010).

Nursing homes are governed by federal nursing home regulations and other state laws. This is to protect the patients living in such facilities from any sort of neglect and abuse that they might suffer at the hands of the staff and/or indirectly through its behavior (Tozer, Coutts, & Blumer, 2012). There are certain guidelines that each nursing home should comply with in order to be approved by the government for operation. However, it is often the case that each nursing home is aware in advance of when a government inspection or audit is coming up. Having foreknowledge allows the administrators to pull out the new linen and supplies that they never use. In addition, this allows the administrators to cover their tracks by filling in charts, adding time sheets to make it appear that there are more employees and similar set-ups. This falls under the category of neglect (Kosieradzki, 2011).

There are legal and moral rights given to elderly patients living under assisted care. The specificity of the rights varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in essence, they are to protect the dignity, pecuniary, dietary, medical privacy, visiting and complaint rights of the individuals that are subjected to nursing home care. In Australia, the Department of Health and Ageing has provided a special unit to deal with complaints lodged by elderly patients residing in nursing homes with regarding to their abuse and negligence. Further, the government of Australia has established the Charter of Resident's Rights and Responsibilities, which seals in legislation the rights given to the residents of nursing and assisted care facilities, and how to exercise those rights, along with the responsibilities of the nursing care facility, and the necessary steps they have to take in accordance with the law to be apt and ensure beneficial patient care. As a response to the round of complaints that echoed throughout the developed world with regard to nursing home abuse and patient care, the government introduced several programs to monitor the standard of care being provided and how the nursing facility is being operated, and maintained (Gibson, Turrell, & Jenkins, 1993).

There are certain roles and responsibilities that fall upon the geriatric nurses and other employees working in an old age/nursing home. The nursing staff employed in such facilities is aptly trained in their duties, and are briefed of their roles and responsibilities so that they can accomplish the task of taking care of senior citizens that have been admitted there with stable or unstable long-term diseases or simple with old age as their main issue.

Geriatric nurses are educated and trained to treat the complex physical and Mental Health situations of the elderly patients. It is their duty not only to help the elderly patients to transition from the independence of their homes and disabling disease-free lives to living with constant supervision and dependence on nurses in a separate nursing home with diseases that render them incapable of taking care of themselves. The nursing staff must display competence in the management of the patients' health and mental conditions. It falls upon the nursing staff to enable the elderly patients to cope with health and physical conditions, so that they are able to remain independent and able to do their everyday tasks for themselves, for as long as possible. In nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, the geriatric nurses employed will additionally develop a patient care plan which they shall undertake to manage from the initial assessment of the patient's condition to the implementation of the plan, and then evaluation of its effectiveness and results (General Health Care Resources Inc., 2013).

It is often the case that many older patients admitted to nursing homes do not require hospitalization. However, due to suffering from certain stable, non- immediate… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Mental Health Aged Care Elective.  (2013, May 9).  Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mental-health-aged-care-elective/7306345

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"Mental Health Aged Care Elective."  Essaytown.com.  May 9, 2013.  Accessed April 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mental-health-aged-care-elective/7306345.