Nursing Assignment: Determinants Of Healthy Ageing
Write a brief report on nursing assignment addressing the following learning outcomes:
LO1 critically analyse the concept of healthy ageing and its promotion at an individual and community level; (GA4) LO2 understand experiences of ageing and how these are impacted by biopsychosocial, spiritual and cultural factors; (GA1, GA4)
Herein nursing assignment, the term healthy ageing can be defined as an ongoing process of optimising the opportunities in the life of improving and maintaining mental and physical health, quality of life and independence throughout an individual’s life course (Paúl, Ribeiro, & Teixeira, 2012).In the year 2002, WHO introduced a policy framework to promote active and healthy ageing. As per this framework, healthy lifestyle choices, proper disease preventionand regular physical activities are closely and positively connected to healthy ageing. The goal of this essay is to discuss the relevance and importance of these three determinants of healthy ageing with empirical evidence. It will alsoanalyse the role of nurses in helping individuals achieve healthy ageing.
According to WHO, several factors (determinants) are there that determine whether a person would achieve healthy ageing or not; those determinants are behavioural determinants, personal determinants, physical environment, social determinants, social and health services and economic determinants. Besides, the culture and gender of the person also play a crucial role in this context. Physical activities, wise medication and not smoking, all these factors come under the behavioural determinants of active ageing (World Health Organization, 2002).
Smoking is considered to be the most crucial modifiable hazardous factor. It leads to premature death, increases the risk of lung cancer and aggravates the loss of functional capabilities. The reason behind this is the muscular strength, bone density and respiratory capability that people lose due to tobacco smoking. The effects of smoking last long and they are cumulative in nature. Therefore, smoking is a preventable habit at all ages (World Health Organization, 2002).
On the other hand, regular physical activities can help individuals in preventing the decline of their functional capabilities, and disabilities caused by heart diseases. It also prevents the onset of lethal and chronic diseases. It has been observed that the risks of cardiac death getreduced by 20-25% if a person gets involved in regular physical activities. Physical activities also encourage elderly people to build and maintain social contacts and improve their mental health. The cost of medication and other treatments gets significantly reduced in the cases of elderly individuals that are engaged in regular physical activities (World Health Organization, 2002).
Wise medication is another crucial determinant of active ageing.Medication can improve quality of life by preventing chronic diseases and alleviating pain. It can also extend longevity, and delay functional decline. However, one needs to remember that smoking, even if it is second-hand in nature, can negatively influence the effects of medicines. Such negative influences can be noticed deeply if the patient suffers from respiratory diseases or asthma (World Health Organization, 2002). Therefore, it can be said the above-mentioned three concepts are highly important for healthy and active ageing and they are closely connected to one another.
Nurses can play important roles in helping elderly people stop smoking. In Australia the 5A Framework needs to be followed which include ‘asking’ the patient about his/her tobacco usage, ‘assessing’ the steps that are needed to be taken to prevent nicotine dependence, ‘advising’ patients about smoking cessation in a clear and supportive manner, ‘assisting’ patient during the cessation process (written information, motivational interview, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as inhaler, gums, lozenges etc.) and finally 'arranging' follow-ups which mean talking about the cessation plan on regular intervals (Department of Health, 2020). Physical activities on the other hand can be promoted through person-centred care. It is the duty of the nurses to assess the individual physical and psychological needs of their patients and provide assistance accordingly (Australian College of Nursing, 2020). Nurses should also be educated about the ‘National Fitness Project’ that includes general fitness training, conditioning and strength, fall prevention, aquatic exercise and balance exercise(Alderslade, 2020).It is the nurse’s responsibility to inform their patients and the elderly community as a wholeabout these services arranged for them. When it comes to the wise use of medicines, nurses must remember that each patient has the right to access quality medicines. Since medicines can potentially harm people, nurses need to prescribe and provide the right doses of medicines to the right individuals. They should also know how to respond appropriately if any adverse impacts get noticed. Documentation is also important in medicine administration. They should also educate the elderly community about their rights (autonomy, consent, right to information etc.) when it comes to medication. They are also required to take part in the 'quality improvement activities and medical system evaluation process quality(ANM, 2013).
Several biopsychological, spiritual and cultural factors are there that can affect the process of ageing deeply. With increasing age individuals experience changes in terms of metabolism rate, body fat accumulation, the declining volume of body water, protein binding etc. (Holbeach, & Yates, 2010). It also changes the psychochemical properties of human cells.Such changes can lead to a declining level of self-regulation, and structural changes to functional organs and tissues. On one hand, such biological changes can affect individuals' ability to remain physically active. On the other hand,it can affect their mood and attitude towards social interactions and the environment. The term ‘psychical ageing’ refers to a person’s awareness and acceptance of the ageing process (Dziechciaz, & Filip, 2014).Since all individuals’ biopsychological conditions are different, nurse practitioners should evaluate the appropriateness, side effects, toxicity, allergies, and medicine intolerance that medicines or interventions (e.g. NRT)can cause before prescribing them. Regular review of the medication plan is also needed with biopsychological changes (ANM, 2013).
Cultural factors also play a crucial role; it determines the way an individual perceives the ageing process and roles of an old person in society. cultures that usually links diseases with the ageing process generally demonstrates a reluctant attitude towards early detection and medication (World Health Organization, 2002). The Gerotranscendence Theory’, gerotranscendence is a very natural process that leads people to wisdom, maturation and a new purpose in life. In such cases, many elderly people, especially in the eastern cultures focus on meditation, self-isolation and reflection which might seem like symptoms of depression. In such cases, forcing them to socialise, or get involved in various physical activities can generate a feeling of guilt and dissatisfaction in them. Therefore, nurses are required to be knowledgeable and they must consider the individual needs of each patient, their cultural backgrounds and values while developing intervention plans (Lalani, 2017).
According to Wattis and Curran (2016), spirituality can help people cope with those social, physical and psychological losses that come with increasing age. According to the author, Spirituality is a type of personal resource that people develop over many years of their lives through experiences and it is different from religiosity. It can help them become resilient which is essential for living a healthy life both mentally and physically. The nurses and other caregivers, in this case, need to be empathetic and compassionate, they should communicate with their patients on a regular basis, assess their spiritual needs and help them find spiritual resources.
Healthy ageing is an ongoing process that requires some behavioural regulations. Physical activities, quitting smoking, and wise medication is some of the most essential factors for ensuring healthy ageing. However, due to several cultural and spiritual issues, people may find it difficult to cope with the ageing process. The biopsychological needs of individuals also differ from one person to another. It is the responsibility of the nurses to follow proper frameworks, act responsibly and practise empathy so that healthy ageing can be assured both at individual and community levels.
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