Avoid ageism and assumptions
Do not to assume a patient cannot perform activities, such as driving or basic self-care. Meanwhile, avoid assumptions that an older patient has age-related health problems. Instead, proactively ask about the patient’s health condition, abilities and experiences. Subsequently adapt your inquiries about falls, balance issues, pain and hearing and vision challenges.
Understand different care goals
Seek to understand the goals your patient has for their care.
Respect their right to be an active participant and make choices about their care. A course of treatment you think is in their best interest may not be what they want or choose to follow at this stage of their lives.
Create a welcoming environment
Hospitals can be highly disorienting for anyone. For people of advanced age, unfamiliar surroundings can be confusing and trigger delirium. Senior inpatients may benefit from displaying family photos by the bedside to help orient and comfort them.
Encourage patients to wear their glasses, hearing aids or other assistive devices that help them feel settled and capable.
Make small changes
Make gradual, small changes with your senior patients, giving them time to adjust while in your care. Clearly explain treatment steps, give them information and time to prepare and avoid sudden surprises in their care. Clearly explain take-home information and instructions before they leave.