Physician Bulletins: Below, you will find a sample of the community-based healthcare utilization bulletins that we routinely mail to referring doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Only small portions of Texas’s senior population are frail, sick, or idle. It is a myth that the elderly are resistant to change, largely senile, or unable to learn new tasks. However, it is clear to any healthcare professional responsible for giving instructions to geriatric patients that they often learn more slowly than other adults. Following we will discuss some of the characteristics of geriatric patients that impair the ability to quickly absorb important health information. You will see that the structure of home health services is ideal for patient teaching and increasing adherence. Whether your geriatric patient receives new instructions in the office or in the hospital, the teaching services of Avatar Home Health can improve understanding, compliance, and health.
Recognizing a Need for Home Health Teaching:
Fear of embarrassment or fear of frustrating others makes geriatric patients less likely to vocalize a need for more or different teaching. When seniors are not fully perceiving or retaining your instructions, they give a number of subtle signs.
- Blank looks
- Asking for things to be repeated
- Answering questions inappropriately
- Adjusting a hearing aid
- Moving printed items back and forth in an attempt to improve focus
- Turning "the good" ear towards the speaker in an attempt to improve hearing
If you notice one or more of these signs from a geriatric patient, consider a referral to Avatar Home Health to verify retention of and adherence with important health instructions and to continue teaching if indicated. Avatar nurses and therapists specialize in geriatric health, and education plays a very large role in their services.
Avatar nurses employ proven methods for overcoming impairments in hearing, sight, and working memory. Strategies such as sitting closer to the senior, using a lower tone of voice, making sure the senior can clearly see the lips of the speaker, and combining verbal presentations with printed material all facilitate effective learning.
A less obvious consideration in geriatric education is mood and motivation. With the prevalence of subtle depression, drowsiness from medication, and/or fatigue from chronic disease, the geriatric patient’s motivation even to try to learn the new information must be assessed first. Often, identifying a personal goal such as attending a graduation or working in the garden and then connecting the health teaching with that goal is the first step to effective communication.
Ultimately, effective teaching for geriatric patients revolves around repetition over a number of days, sufficient time investment, and diligent verification of understanding and adherence. Please consider a referral to Avatar Home Health any time your patients may benefit from additional instruction regarding new medications, medication administration, a new diet, chronic disease management, or any other health issue.
Same-Day Starts of Care Available
In both home health and hospice referrals, you will often have patients who should not be waiting days for service to begin. Refer to Avatar, where fast admission is our standard and same-day admission is available.