This book provides a guide to the nursing care of older people. We hope it will be useful to nurses in all fields, and other health and social care professionals, in providing an outline to the principles of care for older people.
The handbook acknowledges that older people are a precious resource for society. They have wisdom that comes from having a lifetime's experience of living. It is often overlooked that older people are full, active, and useful members of society, who make valuable contributions to such things as childcare, as well as care for the sick and disabled family members.
The aim of the earlier chapters of the handbook is to give a balanced picture of old age, which identifies both the positives and negatives of growing older. The later chapters of the book look at common conditions that the nurse may encounter when providing care for older people. Concluding chapters identify areas where the nurse is able to make particular and often unique contributions to the care of older people. Evidence-based literature is given, but the advice given is often experience-based.
The role of the nurse is pivotal to care of the older person. The handbook covers the wide variety of places where older people may require nursing care, including hospital and community settings, as well as the independent sector. Focal to the nursing care of older people is the provision of compassionate care based on person-centred approaches. Integral to the content of the handbook is that the nurse should promote opportunities for well-being and psychological growth, whilst maintaining the dignity of the older person.
Finally, there is recognition within the text that nursing older people is often very complex and sometimes exacerbated by the existence of co-morbidities, which requires team approaches that cut across traditional care boundaries. As well as nurses there are a range of other professional groups and agencies that are needed to provide optimal health and social care for older people.
Marie Honey, and