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Q: What are the goals of an assisted living facility nurse?

Posted February 26, 2014 in Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

A: Several of the key goals of assisted living facilities 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. The responsibilities of registered nursing staff that provides 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 the resident can report symptoms.

Information provided by Nick Lesch, Courtyard Estates. 6132 N.E. 12th Ave., Pleasant Hill. 515-285-9108.

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