When providing healthcare to elderly patients, there are certain special considerations that need to be taken into account. A comprehensive geriatric evaluation should include a detailed medical history and physical exam, with particular attention to issues that are specific to older people, such as vision, hearing, nutrition, prevention of falls, urinary incontinence, osteoporosis, and preventive health. Effective communication between providers and their elderly patients is essential in order to achieve positive results. Older patients may have multiple conditions, such as hearing loss, vision problems, dementia, or Alzheimer's disease. In addition, providers may need to address sensitive topics such as end-of-life care.
At home, elderly patients have more control over their care. They may be quicker to dismiss a nurse or assistant whom they consider to be insensitive or indifferent to their needs or with whom they have difficulty communicating. The diverse racial composition of both the American public and the healthcare workforce, especially at the paraprofessional level, emphasizes the importance of cultural competence not only among caregivers and patients, but also between health supervisors and their subordinates. When caring for elderly patients, healthcare providers should take into account the unique needs of this population. This includes providing comprehensive geriatric evaluations that focus on issues specific to older people.
It also involves effective communication between providers and their elderly patients in order to ensure positive outcomes. In addition, providers should be aware of the potential for multiple conditions in elderly patients and be prepared to address sensitive topics such as end-of-life care. Finally, cultural competence is essential in order to provide the best possible care for elderly patients.