You probably have an idea about the role of a nurse, but exactly what do nurses do at assisted living facilities? This may be your question, because an assisted living facility is less like a hospital and more like a home setting. If you are planning to get into the job or have your loved one in such a facility, here are the roles you should expect the nurses there to play.
Patients at assisted living residences are away from their homes and loved ones. This could lead to feelings of loneliness and boredom. The job of a nurse then would be to take care of their medical needs as well as provide companionship. A combination of that can be referred to as companion care, don’t you think?
Provide Patient Care
The people at assisted living facilities are usually disabled, elderly, or ailing. So what do nurses do at assisted living facilities? First, they act as caregivers and help treat health conditions, prevent illness, and attend to physical needs. For them to do this, they need to observe the patients and record any information that will aid in decision-making in respect to their treatment. If a patient is ailing, the nurse will monitor their progress throughout the treatment and act accordingly and in adherence to the doctor’s instructions. The care given by assisted facility nurses goes beyond the administration of internal medicine and other therapies as they are also responsible for holistically taking care of patients. This encompasses the spiritual, cultural, developmental, and psychological needs of their patients.
Most of the residents at assisted living facilities are often on medication. They may or may not need help administering it. Regardless, their nurse is responsible for ensuring that they take the medicine at the right dosages.
Sometimes, nurses also have to give vaccines to protect patients from opportunistic infections.
When a nurse is at work, their patient is their number one priority. As such, it is their duty to advocate for the needs and interests of their patients as well as maintain their dignity throughout their stay at the facility. If you are wondering what advocacy is all about, then it includes making suggestions as far as the treatment of the patient. Of course, this is done in collaboration with a doctor. This is especially crucial because ailing patients are often unable to understand their health situations and act accordingly. Simply put, nurses at assisted living facilities repress best interests particularly when it comes to treatment decisions.
From the previous point, you already know that nurses play a crucial role when it comes to determining what kind of treatment is suitable for their patients. What do nurses do at assisted living facilities then? They think critically and assess their patients to identify potential issues so that they are in the best position to take appropriate actions and recommendations. For instance, a nurse is in the best position to recommend hearing aids for a patient who seems to be losing their sense of hearing. A doctor would not know this because they are not always present. Since other health practitioners like specialists and physicians are responsible for deciding the treatment of patients, assisted living nurses should possess the ability to convey patient information effectively. Unlike doctors who come in to check the progress of a patient occasionally, the nurse is always there, hence familiar with the patient’s symptoms. They are therefore the best people to help the doctor to come up with a care plan for the patients.
Patient Education and Support
What do nurses do at assisted living facilities? Well, another thing they do is that they educate residents at the facilities about their treatments, medications, and ailments. This is particularly useful, seeing as the patients will be away from the hospital and in control of their treatments. Education could entail anything from womens health to what the law states about patient and caregiver rights. A nurse is required to sit their patient down to tell them what to do and what to expect once they leave the hospital. While doing that, the nurse also wants to make the patient feel supported and free to seek more clarification or information whenever they need to.
Detect Irregularities and Issues
Nurses are at the forefront of a patient’s life, so if you are still asking what do nurses do at assisted living facilities, then you want to note that they can detect any changes in their patients as well as what is to be expected of the patient’s treatment. They are, therefore, responsible for letting the doctor or specialist know of any unusual changes in the patient’s condition. An assisted living facility nurse is also the first person to handle lab results in case there are any and, since they know how to interpret the results, they can make emergency decisions before getting to a hospital or a doctor. Note that nurses are not tasked with the job of diagnosing medical conditions, but they play an instrumental role when it comes to using patient health information to make care decisions. Most nurses say that when they call doctors with an issue about patients, the doctors usually expect them to have a recommendation on how to proceed. As such, nurses need to be thorough in assessing patients and coming up with ways to make the patients more comfortable. Some patients are not even able to talk, but a nurse is capable of picking subtle cues that signify a deeper issue that requires attention.
Provide Physical Support
A nurse is probably a patient’s primary caregiver when they are living in an assisted facility. The thing is that most of the people residing in such facilities are incapacitated in one way or another. That means that they may find it hard to do the simplest things, such as going to the bathroom. If this is the case, the nurse is responsible for helping them do that. They will also do other things such as bathing them, provide dental care, take them out to bask in the sun, and even feed them. What do nurses do at assisted living facilities? This is part of it.
Provide Skilled Care or Therapy
Imagine going through an accident or suffering an injury that incapacitates your limbs or spine. The treatment encompasses meds and several therapy sessions to restore mobility. Of course, the person with the injury cannot do the therapy for themselves. Well, the good news is that assisted living facilities are created to help individuals who are not able to do everything for themselves. Therefore, if you need help with your physiotherapy sessions, you can be sure that a nurse will be there to help.
Take Care of Patients’ Family
What do nurses do at assisted living facilities? You may be surprised to learn that nurses at assisted living facilities usually end up taking care of the people associated with their patients. This could be friends and family of a patient who is going through a low time in their life. The kind of care here has to do with providing emotional support. Sometimes, a nurse has to give the family of their patient bad news about the progression of their illness. This can be overwhelming for family members who are still grappling with medical bills and the new status of their loved one. A nurse will often find themselves encouraging the family members just to reassure them that they are doing a great job and that there is hope for their loved one. Granted, nursing focuses on the patient, but family needs cannot be ignored.
Build Patient Trust
There are different kinds of patients so you will probably wonder what do nurses do at assisted living facilities. The simple answer to that is that there are a myriad of things. However, one of the most notable things that nurses do is to build trust with their patients. Look at it this way. A patient needs an IV line or an injection and they are scared of this. Even if they are not, a nurse would just not walk in and stick it into the patient. They have to let the patient know what they plan to do, demonstrate if possible, and reassure them that everything will be okay. Walking into a room and doing whatever you need to do for your patient without showing empathy and being reassuring can make them withdraw and have trust issues. It is therefore, a nurse’s job to build trust with their patients as well as their loved ones.
Adhere to Protocol
A lot can be said about the support and emotional communication that nurses need to give to their patients, but nursing involves some technical work as well. As such, nurses need to be very attentive while on the job. This is because nursing tasks are delicate and handled based on unique protocols under high hygiene and safety standards. The last thing you want to do is to harm a patient in the process of attending to them just because you did not follow protocol. At this point, you are probably asking, what do nurses do at assisted living facilities. The answer to that would be that they balance the nursing tasks that need to be performed with precision.
Keep Up With the Latest Technology and Techniques In Nursing and Healthcare
Things continuously evolve in the medical field, from technology to medicine, and techniques. As you continue to wonder what do nurses do at assisted living facilities, keep in mind that it is their job to update their knowledge and skills in nursing. Of course, this is going to be beneficial to patients because they will benefit from the latest nursing practices. A nurse will also want to keep up with the latest in their field because they want to keep their job.
Assess Variables and Their Effect On Patients
When people ask what do nurses do at assisted living facilities, one of the commonest answers they get is that nurses carry out detective work. How so? Nurses analyze their patients to uncover underlying issues and how they are going to affect the patient. Different variables affect a nurse’s work when it comes to anticipating illness progression, interventions, and treatments, as well as responding decisively when necessary. A nurse has access to information, but combining it and forecasting how it will affect their patient spiritually, mentally, and physically has to be the biggest challenge. A good nurse should be able to do that effortlessly.
Ensure That the Patient Eats Right
The journey to recovery or remaining comfortable at an assisted living residence requires the patient to eat right. Their nurse can therefore provide nutrition counseling so the patient understands why they have to eat what is recommended instead of what they want or crave.
Yes, you read that right. At this point, you are probably confused about what nurses do at assisted living facilities, but you don’t have to be. Sure, assisted living residences have security personnel manning the gate and other strategic areas. However, since the nurse is closest to the patient and spends a lot of time with them, they are also responsible for their safety. They will therefore ensure that unauthorized persons do not get access to the patients and raise the alarm if they need security reinforcement.
A nurse gives primary care to any patient residing in an assisted living facility. The job description of such a nurse is wide-ranging, so if you are interested in taking that career path or wondering if the nurse taking care of your loved one is performing their duties as expected, you now have the answer.