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Nurse’s role in assisted living

Posted February 26, 2014 in Advice Column, Bondurant

Several of the key goals of assisted living facilities (ALFs) are to promote aging in place and to maximize the function and quality of life of their residents. The ALF nurse’s goal is to maximize quality of life by considering pre-existing medical complications. It is vital for a licensed nurse to properly manage residents’ care.

The responsibilities of registered nursing staff that provide care in assisted living facilities are many and varied. They often include an admission assessment and periodic review, evaluation of residents who show significant physical, mental or behavioral changes, review medication regiment, supervise staff and provide education to residents and staff.

The value of a trained and skilled nurse is to observe changes and communicate this information to the doctor or family so it can considered for further evaluation.

A common scenario in assisted living facilities is Mom is usually alert, but suddenly becomes really confused. A trained clinician should be able to pick up on this sort of unusual behavior or symptoms in a timely manner and request immediate physician involvement. The problem could be as simple as a urinary tract infection.

As a result of astute nursing observation, the assisted living facility resident is back to normal in a few days. If it hadn’t been picked up, the infection could have exacerbated or if medications were inappropriately prescribed, a wrong move could cause lots of problems for a fragile senior.

Nurses help educate residents about what they can expect to experience with a disease or condition, so when things go awry the resident can report strange symptoms. Nurses also help residents take responsibility, for example, by helping residents learn how to enhance their mobility and strength to avoid falls.

The goal of an assisted living community is to help residents enjoy a life of dignity and independence. Families, staff and residents work in collaboration to help them live longer and enjoy a higher quality.

Information provided by Sheila Manson, RN, Courtyard Estates at Hawthorne Crossing, 601 Hawthorne Crossing Drive S.E., Bondurant, 515-957-8399.

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