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Health assessment of the older adult

                 The Geriatric assessment is a comprehensive diagnostic tool that is used to collect data on the medical, psychosocial and functional capabilities of older patients. The major elements of the assessment are physical health, mental health, social and economic status, functional status and the environmental characteristics (Miller, 2009).

               Under physical health, the medical health is taken into account. Medical history focuses on issues like medication use and the malnutrition risk. The physical examination is used to identify specific conditions that may have preventive, restorative and palliative elements (Mauk, 2009). The mental health element deals with the evaluation of the cognitive, the behavioral and the emotional status; this is done with a special emphasis on detecting dementia, delirium and depression.

The social and economic status includes the presence of caregivers; it may also include social economic status of elderly person. The functional status may be measured by the ability to achieve the obvious activities in everyday life. The activities are commonly referred to as the daily living (ADL), and they include bathing, dressing, being able to visit the toilet and continence (Wallace, 2007). The environmental characteristic element involves evaluating the patient’s physical environment to determine how safe it is.

When carrying out the assessment, the nurse should enhance a good rapport with the elderly patient. He/she must minimize the distractions and speak to the patient clearly (Miller, 2009). The patient should be put at ease by explaining why the assessment is being carried out, he or she should give a brief overview of how the assessment will be carried out. It is always good for the nurse to ask the patient the reason for seeking health care and to find out when the symptoms of the illness began (Mauk, 2009).

References

Mauk, K. (2009). Gerontological Nursing:Competencies for Care. Sudbury,MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Miller, C. (2009). Nursing for Wellness in Older Adults: Theory and Practice. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams and Wilkins.

Wallace, M. (2007). Essentials of Gerontolical Nursing . New York: Springer.