Older adults (OA) are at risk for potential hazards of hospitalization, these include: immobility, delirium, medication side effects, malnutrition, pressure ulcers, procedures, peri- and postoperative periods, and hospital-acquired infections and more. Discuss in detail three potential hazards for this population while in the hospital and identify potential prevention strategies for each hazard.
Your initial posting should be at least 400 words in length and utilize at least one scholarly source other than the textbook. Please reply to at least two classmates. Replies to classmates should be at least 200 words in length.
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As we age, our susceptibility to certain health risks increases. In the hospital, older adults are particularly vulnerable to a range of potential hazards due to many factors such as underlying health issues and changes in their physical and cognitive abilities. This essay will explore three particular potential hazards for this population while in the hospital, along with the strategies that can be used to prevent them.
Older adults are at a greater risk of falls while in the hospital, mainly due to their reduced mobility, unstable gait, and reduced balance. According to Kim, Park, & Choi (2019), falls are a common cause of injury and poor outcomes among older adults, and these can occur at any time during a hospital stay. To prevent falls in the hospital, health care providers should undertake a thorough assessment of the patient’s mobility, cognition, function, and fall history. Bed alarms and furniture with grab bars can also be installed to reduce falls.
Delirium is a prevalent issue with older adults in hospitals. It is usually characterized by an acute and fluctuating change in attention, consciousness, and cognitive function (Narayanan et al., 2019). Various factors trigger delirium, including pain, medication, sleep disruption, dehydration, and sensory deprivation. To prevent delirium, healthcare professionals have to promote the patients’ cognitive, social, and functional activities. Promoting a consistent sleep-wake cycle, providing the patient with mobility, implementing pain control measures, and providing a quiet environment are some of the strategies healthcare providers can use.
Older adults are vulnerable to malnutrition while in the hospital because of various reasons, including loss of interest or inability to feed themselves due to cognitive issues, unfamiliar or unappetizing meals, or sensory changes related to aging. Malnutrition can lead to a longer hospital stay, decrease in immune function, and slower wound healing, among others. Kellett and Kyle(2019) suggest various strategies to prevent malnutrition, including an early nutrition assessment, appropriate mealtime routines like a regular meal, and snacks, addressing cultural preferences, and involving a family member or caregiver in the patient’s meal planning.
Older adults are vulnerable to various potential hazards while in the hospital. Falls, delirium, and malnutrition are some dangers that require unique prevention strategies. Therefore, healthcare providers should provide comprehensive assessments and interventions, including monitoring the patient’s mobility, cognitive function, medication, ensuring nutrition adequacy, and regular sleep cycle, to ensure safety and prevent complications. The implementation of these strategies can help older adults stay healthy, mitigate the risk of delirium, falls, malnutrition, and other potential hazards, and promote positive health outcomes.