Table 5

Practice Implications to Avert Potential Risks

Potential Risks for the Hospitalized ElderlyPractice Implication
1. Decreased mobility and functional declineConduct comprehensive initial and ongoing geriatric assessment to formulate targeted strategies to enhance mobility levels and functional status, such as structured exercise, progressive resistance strength training, and walking programs.
2. Adverse effects of immobility and bed restIncorporate the use of practice guidelines to address potential adverse effects, including prevention of skin breakdown, fall prevention, treating delirium, prevention of pressure ulcers, and management of urinary incontinence.
3. Altered nutrition or dehydrationIncorporate the use of practice guidelines to enhance nutritional status and hydration during acute illness.
4. Impaired sleep and restIntegrate established protocols aimed at improving sleep and rest during hospitalization.
5. Alterations in self-carePromote participation in activities of daily living; promote normal daily routine activities.
6. Cognitive alterationsConduct ongoing assessment of cognitive status changes and implementation of measures to address confusion and delirium.
7. Complications of acute illness (e.g., infection, aspiration, pneumonia)Use multidisciplinary care models to address management of acute illness and implementation of prevention measures.

From: Chapter 11, Reducing Functional Decline in Hospitalized Elderly

Cover of Patient Safety and Quality
Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.
Hughes RG, editor.

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