“Care of the elderlies is as challenging as calculus.”
Nurses, or even common people, agree that elderlies are among the vital and vulnerable patients or clients in health care. They may be murky or sloggy but they need extra care like newborns and infants from health care professionals. And for that, they became my subject for my first exposure in the nursing world.
Elderlies are those who have passed the middle age and is going to old age. Often they are passed the age of 70 years and has old- age related health imbalances such as dementia, alzheimers and post surgery or MI/Stroke consequences. Because of the contemporary circumstances in the society, families choose to put their elderly in a hospice care facility.
Hospice Care is known as an end of life care where the goal of the care is to help people who are dying have peace, comfort, and dignity according to Medline Plus. Nurses and caregivers are usually the person who render care for them. They try to control pain and other symptoms so a person can remain as alert and comfortable as possible.
A Hospice Care Facility (Hospice Care Institution) is either government or private owned institution where elderlies live with their caregivers. Hospice care facility provides programs that promotes care to each elderly admitted. Hospice programs also provide services to support a patient’s family. In Iloilo City, Philippines, Asilo de Molo Inc. is the known facility to care and house the elderlies.
Gerontological Nursing is a special branch of nursing which focuses on the care of elderlies. According to Wikipedia, it is seen to being more consistent with the specialty’s broader focus on health and wellness, in addition to illness. Today, gerontological nursing has gained more attention due to the increasing population of old persons needing assistance and care.
July 15: Orientation Day at the Hospice Care Facility
The day after I finished my interview at Asilo de Molo, a non- stock, non- profit institution that houses elderlies from our province and neighboring cities, I had my orientation on how the institution run and care the elderlies. I arrived at the institution before 8am and meet the other nurses and caregivers.
As of posting time, the institution houses 39 elderlies who live in four cottages. Each cottage is categorized according to the needs and cases of the old people and elderlies. In cottage one, there are five male elderlies and seven female elderlies. The men in this cottage needs partial to full assistance and care while the females are all ambulatory and can still perform daily activities by themselves. The surprise in the cottage is Mother who manifests signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. Cottage Two is an all- female cottage that houses sixteen elderlies. Most of the clients here are unable to perform ADLs by themselves; and have mental health imbalances that four of them are placed in the ‘psyche ward’ of the cottage. Among the clients of the cottage one and two, six ate osterized foods. Nurses and caregivers are stationed in both of the cottage one and two to give full attention and care to these clients.
Cottage 3 of Asilo de Molo is a semi- private one where elderlies have their own private caregivers. During the Holy Rosary and other activities, they joined the cottage one and two clients. Cottage four is a private one where elderlies have their own private caregivers too.
July 16: PM Shift at the Hospice Care Facility
Since I am under the group of Miss Maesha Dorado, RN, I had my second day as a PM Shift nurse. Asilo de Molo has a broken time of duty during the PM Shift. Nurses are to give care between 4pm to 8pm; and then 4am to 8am. Nurses and caregivers are not allowed to go out the facility between 8:01pm to 3:59am. We are to stay at the nurse’s station/ room to rest and sleep. My first night in the Cottage 2 was fine. No elderly was roaming or having a ‘tantrum’ in the cottage.
At 4am, we started our care by giving a cup of warm milk to the elderlies. Afterwhich we bathe and changed their clothes in preparation for the 6am Holy Mass. Six clients are able to bathe themselves which give us a ‘little of a handful’ for some. Breakfast and their medications is served after the Holy Mass to the elderlies.
July 20: AM Shift at the Hospice Care Facility
The day our duty started with the reading of the report of what have transpired during the PM shift. We call it as the endorsement. After the endorsement, I took the vital signs of the elderlies who are outside the hall and were either talking to each other or just doing their usual routine. By 9am the elderlies gathered in the Lindalva Hall for the Holy Rosary. Afterwhich, we gave them their snacks.
Lunch was served at around 11:30am. While the elderlies were allowed to watch television shows after lunch, others went back to their cubicle for their afternoon nap. They get another snack time by 3pm. Usually there are visitors who give morning and afternoon snacks for the elderlies of Asilo de Molo.
Fridays and Saturdays of the week are our group’s day- off.
July 22: Visit of the WVSU Medicine Students at the Hospice Care Facility
Asilo de Molo is often the recipient of different schools, organizations, institutions and blessed people’s attention. The elderlies receive visitors every other day to entertain, talk, or give them snacks. On July 22, the WVSU Medicine students along with their adviser visited and held a short program for the elderlies. They made the elderlies sing a couple of song. They also had a spur-of-the-moment duet with the elderlies. After the short program, the students talked with the elderlies while assisting them with the snacks they brought.
While the WVSU students are around, the elderlies are able to vent out their own stories. Their talk ran for about 15minutes and I can see how happy the elderlies are. On the other hand, we, the nurses and caregivers are behind the students, answering their queries related to the elderly they are talking to.
(Note: The photos I used here were the ones taken when we held our culminating activity in 2011 as student nurses of the University of San Agustin. I still had the soft copy in my Google Drive and thought of sharing it though some elderlies in the photos are not around as of posting time. This blog post is also for them. May their souls rest in peace.)