What to Look for When Considering Gerontological Nursing

What to Look for When Considering Gerontological Nursing

Within the specialties of medical care for seniors, there’s also room for nursing. Here’s what you should look for when considering gerontological nursing.

Within the field of medicine, there are many different specialties. What some people don’t realize, however, is that not only can doctors specialize in a particular field, but nurses can as well. Gerontological nursing is a specific field relating to the care of older adults. If you have a loved one who could benefit from the care of a nurse, consider a gerontological nurse.

Related: What is Gerontology?

What is Gerontological Nursing?

The term gerontological nursing replaced the term geriatric nursing during the 1970s. Geriatric medicine is the medical study and treatment of conditions affecting older adults, but gerontological medicine has a much wider focus. Rather than just focusing on physical health issues, gerontology also incorporates aspects of psychology, biology, and sociology – it is a broader focus on the overall health and wellness of older adults. A gerontological nurse works not only with the patient, but also with his family and community to support healthy aging and to help the patient reach his maximum potential for function and quality of life.

Related: How To Find a Geriatrician

Where Can You Find Gerontological Nursing Services?

Gerontological nursing services can be found in a variety of different facilities including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, acute care hospitals, retirement homes, and even in private homes. If you are considering gerontological nursing services for a loved one, here are some things to think about as you start your search:

  • Medical needs – If your loved one has any specific medical needs, they might help you to determine which type of facility is the best fit.
  • Support network – A gerontological nurse will work with your loved one as well as his family and community to provide comprehensive care and support.
  • Education and training – The field of gerontology is a specialty, so you want to make sure that the nurse you choose has a firm background in the field as well as proper training.
  • Patience and empathy – Even if a gerontological nurse has all the training required, he or she still might not be a good fit for your loved one if they don’t have the patience and empathy needed to form a trusting relationship with older adults.
  • Availability – Many facilities have a shortage of nurses, particularly in specialty fields – you’ll want to make sure to choose a facility and a nurse that has the time to dedicate to your loved one’s care.
  • Staff retention – Unfortunately, there is a lot of turnover in the field of nursing. If you want your loved one to receive uninterrupted care, look for a facility that has a low turnover rate.
  • Insurance coverage – Medical care is very expensive and not all insurance plans cover specialty services or certain facilities – make sure you know what your loved one’s coverage is and be sure to use it correctly.

If your loved one is getting up in years and needs some additional care, don’t settle for any assisted living facility or nursing home – look for a facility that offers the services of skilled gerontological nurses. This may require you to do some research, but it will be highly beneficial for your loved one in terms of maintaining his health and wellness as well as his quality of life.

Photo credit: JacobLund/Bigstock

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