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Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Neglect in the Elderly - A Guide for the Traveling Nurse

April 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 154

The failure of a caregiver to provide nourishment to their dependent elders will result in malnutrition and dehydration. The signs ans symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration are sunken eyes and cheeks, gaunt appearance, decrease skin turgor, extreme bony prominence. Also, confusion, apathy and sometimes delusion is present. Notice if patients, when offered foods or liquids, have extreme appetite or thirst. Determine if the patient suffers from any disease that caused a deteriorated condition.

Pressure sores are common in bed-ridden, elderly individuals. They are due to sustained pressure and the soft tissues between a bone and a surface do not receive the nourishment that a good blood supply furnishes. Pressure sores usually occur over bony prominences of the body: sacrum, elbows,heels,ankles and hips.

The Travel Nurse must document an elderly patient with signs and symptoms of failure to thrive. The Travel Nurse must obtain the physical height and weight of the patient. Document the calories of food and quantity of liquids consumed by the patient at mealtime. Take photographs to demonstrate the patient's physical appearance at the time of admission. If present with decubitus ulcers, sketch the size, depth and location of the lesions.

Perform diagnostic testing on the elder patient to determine the extent of malnutrition and dehydration. The Travel Nurse should perform a metabolic screening for nutritional, electrolytes and endocrine abnormalities. Toxicology testing for the elder's patient medication level must be performed. If decubitus ulcers are present, radio-graphic and nuclear screening is recommended to rule out a bone infection. Perform a gram stain and take culture and sensitivity for appropriate antibiotic regiment to be given to the patient.

The elderly who live alone are subjected to self neglect. If an elder patient lives alone and is responsible to obtain and prepare one's food, they can be subjected to malnutrition and dehydration. Also, alcohol abuse must be ruled out. Test for mental deficiency states, depression, isolation, chronic illness, and poor fitting dentures. The elder patient might also be over medicated and have toxic medication levels.

The sad truth is that it is the most elderly and frail individual who are at the greatest risk of being neglected. The research shows that the victims is typically female, over 70 years of age and is dependent on their children. The Travel Nurse has the responsible to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect to intervene immediately to protect the elder patient from continued abuse. The abused and neglected elderly patient rely on Traveling Nurses to intervene immediately and to notified the state authorities of this abhorrent situation.

Dr. Abe Bushansky has been committed to the healthcare arena to ensure quality care to his patients for over 17 years. Dr Abe Bushansky currently represents Travel Nurses in obtaining prestigious hospital positions throughout the United States.

Source: EzineArticles
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