For this paper, I will discuss five current evidence-based articles to examine several aspects that impact quality improvement for older adults. I will discuss age-related physical and emotional changes and how they challenge quality improvement in the elderly, barriers and solutions to quality improvement programs, and how these will impact the quality outcomes for the aging adult.
There are many theories that describe the aging process, but current thought is that physical changes begin as early as the 20s and 30s in most adults. Normal aging affects every system in the body because organs become more inefficient. Heart muscle thickens, and oxygen uptake lessens. Arteries become less elastic, and it becomes more difficult to circulate blood. Lung and bladder capacity declines and kidneys cannot excrete waste products as well. Muscle mass declines and mineral loss occurs in bones. Vision close-up and at a distance becomes difficult. Low light environments and glare from headlights can compound this issue and make driving at night challenging. Hearing can diminish but is more prevalent in men than women (Toblaski, 2014-a).
Keeping the elderly patients safe is the most critical and challenging aspect of gerontological nursing due to generalized diminishing function. I reviewed five research articles to look at various improvement programs and how they relate to QAPI (Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement). QAPI is a framework of government guidelines for quality improvement programs in nursing homes (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2014).
Training Model Effects on Oral Care in a Long-term Care Facility
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...ents increase strength and mobility.
In conclusion, the aging process presents many challenges to providing safe, high-quality care for elderly patients in long-term care facilities. Nursing homes should focus on engaging and involving all departments and staff in quality program initiatives. QI leaders should make staff education an integral piece of improvement efforts and should model their programs using the elements of the QAPI process. While resources are scarce, QI staff need to look at creative ways to encourage staff to adopt EBP. Researchers should increase data collection from real world settings to develop evidence-based practices. As the elderly adult population rapidly increases, the areas of research, nursing care, and quality improvement need work together to find ways to deliver the safest health care available to this vulnerable population.
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