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According to the book, Physical examination, and health assessment, a comprehensive geriatric assessment can be defined as a multidimensional evaluation which includes physical examinations as well as functional status, mental status, economic status, social status, pain and finally physical environment examination for safety measures (Jarvis, 2016). These are the elements of health assessment. Functional activities, also known as sensory capabilities, include the performance of activities as well as daily tasks. Mental status is memory, attention, language, visuospatial skills, orientation and higher cognitive functions like decision making and planning. Social and economic status refers to the relationship with family and friends (Jarvis, 2016). Environmental assessment is common hazards like obstructed walkways, throw rugs, cords; inadequate lighting, curled carpet edges and lack of grab rails. Pain refers to the act of providing comfort to help in maximizing the information gathered.
Nurses should understand the normal aging process to enable them to differentiate between normal and problematic assessment. There are special considerations, which nurses should take when assessing elderly patients (Jarvis, 2016). One of them is to know a little history of the patients. If the patient(s) has several medical problems, make sure that they are comfortable because they may get tired easily. You should talk to them during assessment and give your full attention to them. It is also good to face them and speak low and slow. During the assessment, noisy devices such as TVs and radios should be switched off (Jarvis, 2016). For patients who require assistive devices for mobility, you should ensure that the devices are near them to avoid the risk of falling. Treat the assessment of elderly patients like you would do to your family. Respect them regardless of whether they are cognitive or not.
As the US population ages for nurses it is important to complete comprehensive geriatric assessments. Comprehensive geriatric assessments are composed of many assessments and examinations like physical examination, mental status assessment, social status, functional status, economic status, and examination of the physical environment for safety concerns, and pain (Jarvis, 2016). Functional ability assessment looks at the mental, physical, and social environment; is the patient’s mental state strong enough to support themselves or is the environment that they live in safe enough in order to live independently. Other functional assessments include the activities of daily living (ADLs), ADLs measures and lets the nurse conclude and find out the status and the life of the patient daily live, such as if the patient is able to bathe or go to the bathroom, can they drive, and are they able to perform daily activities. A nurse should ask the patient what their abilities are to perform tasks and also the nurse should observe their abilities to perform those tasks. For the patient these assessments maybe crucial and identifies the older adult’s abilities of strength and limitations so that they can be provided with interventions that will help provide them self-independence and prevent functional decline (Jarvis, 2016).
When assessing the geriatric population, the nurse should make sure to observe the overall appearance of the patient. Nurse should also provide privacy to the patient as well as make sure the environment is comfortable and warming keeping in mind the position of how they sit and making sure they won’t have to be distressed by moving them often. Older patients may need time when telling you their problems. Assessing the patients gait and pain level by looking at their face can help in assessments. It is important to talk to the elderly patient calmly to relax them. Some patients may need aids to hear or read, speaking slowly and clearly can help make sure the conversations are heard. Using physical touch to help assess the patient will help if they are unable to see or hear. As an older person may tire easily it is important to take breaks and not rush through the exam allowing the patient to be thoroughly examined and heard (Jarvis, 2016).