The Role and Responsibilities of the Gerontology Advanced Practice Nurse
Gerontological nurse practitioners typically have advanced training and specialization in dealing with health problems and their impact on the social, physical, and physical well-being of older adults. Older adults tend to suffer from more complex and chronic conditions compared to other age groups. In light of this predicament, the gerontology advanced nurse practitioner is charged with handling the multifaceted and complicated health status of geriatrics (Rowe, 2016). Gerontology advanced nurses should demonstrate effective skills in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of the physical condition common among elderly adults while responding to the needs of their families.
The holistic focus includes recognizing the physical, cognitive, psychological, and social impacts of the disease to the patient, family, and the health systems at large. In addition, Everett, Thorpe, Palta, Smith (2014) confirm that many of these conditions, such as diabetes, require a multifaceted approach; for instance, providing preventive, curative, and psychological care. The nurses should also ensure that patients are linked with appropriate systems to address specific needs, including home or institutionalized care, mental health treatment, and social welfare. These roles are intended to provide comprehensive care to the elderly.
Chronic conditions among the geriatric population are often debilitating and complex. The progressive outcome of the conditions may include a decline in functionality, which also requires interventions to ensure that individuals become productive once again. Besides, those practitioners should recognize when the palliative care is the most appropriate response and be knowledgeable in breaking the news to the patient and family members, while continuing with the support as long as they remain in the system. Through such initiatives, the nurse will be responding to the multifaceted issues affecting geriatric patients.
The advanced practitioner should act as the patient’s advocate in the healthcare system and ensure that patients have adequate access to the necessary services. Achieving this goal might require the nurse to consult a team of experts on behalf of the patient in developing an effective therapeutic intervention strategy and additional services for the patient (Thorpe, Palta, & Smith, 2014). Although a specialized gerontology nurse is equipped with the skills to handle age-related illnesses, the complexity of chronic diseases may still require specialized assessment from a physician specialist.
The gerontology advanced nurse should recognize such instances that require advanced evaluating and treatment and subsequently link the patients and their families to the appropriate provider. Rowe (2016) notes that the role of gerontology is not only affected by the profound challenge of managing chronic disease, but also the formal and informal services needed by the sick older patients. Indeed, this is especially true since the trajectory of chronic diseases has shifted from acute and terminal, to more extended chronic periods that range from intensified symptoms to remissions, and considerable periods of proper functioning. In addition, their caregivers also need the support and empowerment of nursing professionals to provide the best care. These roles demonstrate the complex roles of gerontological practitioners in caring for ailing older persons.
As it is evident from the above analysis, gerontology advanced practice nurses play significant roles and responsibilities towards older adults experiencing complex and chronic illnesses in an individual, family, and system levels. They offer advanced treatment and guide patients on the appropriate care required while informing the family on issues regarding the patient. Finally, they ensure that patients are linked to the healthcare system that meets their specific needs.