Health care involves the aspects of clinical practice while working with the clients, involving the families in the hospital settings, and the aged care residents (Robichaud, Durand, Bedard & Ouellet , 2006). Today, this has changed, and health care professionals focus on service provision. This ensures that they continually provide services that have the evidence of necessity, efficiency, and are not costly. This involves just assisting the client and should show evidence of therapeutic gain that is obtained with the least possible cost and financial support. This means that the aged care provided should be socially acceptable, therapeutically effective, and there should be evidence in the positive difference it brings to a client’s life. The health care services offered should be patient-centred to ensure that they add value to the quality of an aged person’s life (Dziegielewski, 2003). This paper discusses on the various management strategies that can be applied while providing health care services. This is meant to ensure that the patient’s distinct elements, as well as cultural and ethnic aspects are considered.
Management strategies for quality healthcare in aged care environments
According to Jeon & Fethney (2012), uniqueness and individualising the needs of each resident is an important aspect in promoting better health care for the aged. This calls for a keen interest from health care providers to make sure that they know the people within the context of their residence. They should learn about their history, religion, and culture (Anderson, et al. 2003). This can be achieved by simply moving around the residence and socialising with the residents to familiarise themselves with the patients. This gives a balance between the time that managers take while working with the residents and while working with information. The tendency for health care providers to concentrate on the medical histories and other data about the patient leaves out the personal relationship that health care providers should have with the residents. Interacting more with the residents also gives the residents an opportunity to socialise with one another. Through socialising with the health care providers, patients get an opportunity to express their fears and concerns. They learn from one another’s experiences, and gain confidence to face their health and physical challenges. The care giver should provide aspects of care with the evidence of psychosocial and empathetic needs that residents require. This should also be extended to the individual’s relatives to give them a sense of acceptance and belonging (Healy, 2011; Brown, 1992).
Insomnia is a major complaint from the aged residents and is caused by medical and geriatric factors. It is also caused by behavioural and environmental aspects, which can easily be avoided to minimise sleep disturbance. To ensure that the sleep needs of the aged are met, it is necessary to introduce practices that promote sleep during the night. These include stretching the time that the aged residents spent on sunlight exposure, limiting the time spent in bed during the day for the aged who can move around, and providing more involving physical activities. These practices will limit the duration spent while sleeping during the day. In this case, they are likely to sleep more during the night. This should be integrated in the residential old age’s programmes to ensure that the health care providers offer the services consistently for them to be effective (Ouslander, et al, 2006). The environmental factors can also be mitigated by individualising the night time for residents with a consistent program. Program for noise abatement and staff sensitisation on the importance of undisturbed sleep for the aged promotes a quality stay in the aged residence (Rahman & Schnelle, 2002).
In the modern environment, professional health care workers are expected to balance between the quality of care that they offer and containing the costs incurred. Social health care for the aged is unique from other forms of care. This is because it involves helping an individual, as well as the family members. Therefore, this considers the individuals in the environment, as well as the situation. The health care provider should focus on the individual, cultural needs of the aged, and family while anticipating future changes in environments in which services are offered. For instance, aged care has moved from non-profit practice to a more profit and service oriented service. This indicates that the services offered should fit within the financial ability (Sixma, Campen, Kerssens & Peters, 2000). Health care providers should focus on the primary mission to enhance the well-being of the old aged. This will ensure that the residents experience a good stay that adds value to their lives. The health providers should pay attention to the vulnerable patients who may be poor or oppressed to meet their needs. This will empower them to face life with a positive attitude. Through this, residents are motivated to participate in practices that make them self-reliant hence reducing costs. The health care provision should focus on the welfare of the residents, as opposed to the costs likely to be incurred. This reduces costs in the long run (Dziegielewski, 2003; Goldsmith, 1993).
When dealing with the aged, a health care service provider deals with diverse populations that may include the homeless, people with suicidal tendencies, mentally and medically ill and those abusing drugs. The health care provider is expected to offer a restoration service to the resident and enhance wellness. Jeon & Fethney (2012) suggested that health care should focus on the self-reliance of residents, increased participation in the healing process, care and self-fulfilment by the residents. These processes should ensure that a residents’ dignity is preserved because this is what determines the attitude directed towards improving the situation. It is necessary to assume a person-centred care in which the residents are involved in decision making to meet these needs adequately. This also involves respecting their needs and wishes about their health (Galloway, n.d).
The old age residence offers a permanent stay unlike hospitals where patients are offered a place only for quick recuperating. Therefore, the old care residences should have a home like features that support the daily activities and offer the residents an opportunity to manage chronic diseases. This should foster for a greater involvement by the family members to ensure that the old receive love from their family (Baggett, 1989). Client satisfaction should be the main focus to ensure that the residents’ quality of life is enhanced. This can be measured through feedback evaluation. This information should be available to the residents’ families; the health care provides; policy makers and the people involved in service planning. It should be used to make decisions concerning the residents whereby families should be part of the decision making team (Matiti, 2011; Philp, 2001).
The essence of caring for the aged is getting to know the residents and attaching value to their lives. This is done by learning their expectations and the care they want from their own perspective (Flores & Newcomer, 2009). When a health care provider attends to the aged following their wishes, they are likely to get cooperation and tips on how they can serve them better. This gives them the respect, dignity and fairness that they wish to experience while in the aged care residents. Aged people tend to have low communication and functional abilities, and they deserve patience and understanding. The communication abilities of an aged person can be very poor. However, health care providers should strive to ensure that they identify the residents’ individual needs. This enables them to formulate a strategy on how to care for the aged and meet their needs effectively. A slight misunderstanding can have an adverse effect because the aged tend to be very temperamental. Therefore, for quality health care among the aged, communication and patience are critical elements that should be addressed (Lindeman, 2003).
In addition, cultural competence is an important area in the care for the aged. Health care providers should create a cultural and inclusive culture to ensure that the cultural needs of the aged are met. Health care providers should provide an environment that challenges social evils like discrimination and racism. In this case, the management should ensure that this is integrated in the core values known to both the staff and the family members. The aged should also be aware of this element as this will ensure that they care about their human rights. People from different backgrounds have different beliefs and roles in the family set up. For instance, some communities have gender-specific roles, and this should be respected. In this case, if a resident feels that a certain role should be served by female attendant, then this should be respected and offered accordingly. Stereotypes for some families or even social interactions should be treated as diversity to ensure a peaceful coexistence among members (Baker, 2007). Spirituality and religion is also another area that promotes a good stay for the aged. Respect for one’s religion and spirituality promotes a person-centred care, which is highly appreciated by the residents. While planning, these should be included to avoid conflicts of interest (Allen & Barnett, 2010). For instance, the Muslim women may prefer to be attended to by female health care providers. Such wishes should be respected, and the religious needs met (MacKinlay, 2006).
Specialised care is important for the health care providers to meet certain health requirement for each resident. While all residents may be old and frail, each one of them may have a personal ailment that may inhibit a collective attendance. For instance, one patient may have hearing problems while another one may experience poor eyesight. The health care providers should know each resident’s needs because overlooking these needs may lower a resident’s dignity. The residents are diverse in terms of character, attitude, likes and dislikes. This makes their aspirations and commitments different. Thus, health care providers should seek to understand each person’s priorities, needs, interests, capabilities and limits. In cases where a resident’s interests conflict with the standard social norm, this can be resolved by honesty in explaining the expected conduct. Dialogue should be encouraged to ensure that residents also respect one another’s point of view to enhance a mutual coexistence (Smith, 1996; Zimmerman, Sloane & Eckert, 2001).
Some of the aged people may not be self-reliant. However, they deserve a self-identity. This is achieved by respecting their values and recognizing their roles in society. Health care providers should recognise what the residents have achieved in life. The society often excludes the older people from societal activities and may make them lose their dignity. Health care providers should work with them by recognising their achievements and acknowledging them in order to restore their self-worth within the society. Physical interference may be offensive to the aged. In such cases, privacy should be respected, and any form of interference should be explained adequately. This also involves the respect for the moral wellbeing of an aged person (Colgan, 2009).
Hindle (2011) identified ways in which the dignity of the aged can be maintained. It is essential to note that some practices, which may seem right, could be offensive to others. For example, mixed bays that accommodate both sexes may not be acceptable, and this should be avoided. The aged do not like being rushed and thus patience is needed. They should be given an opportunity to choose meals and not be forced to follow a given menu. Bibs meant for babies may offend the aged, and napkins could be used instead. The aged should not be viewed as a bother; however, they should be attended to with enthusiasm as this also promotes their cooperation (Tarzia, Fetherstonhaugh & Bauer, 2011).
Health care for the aged is an essential requirement in adding value to their lives. This is achieved by providing a person-centred health care that promotes dignity. When health care providers understand the individual needs, likes, dislikes and capabilities, they are able to attend to the aged adequately. The aged and their families should be involved in decision making. This promotes the healing process for their frequent illnesses, as well as cooperation. Meeting individual needs provides a home environment for the aged and adds grace to their ageing.
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