Vulnerable Population and Self Awareness
One of the most common vulnerable populations are those individuals with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease. People with advanced AD are more challenging to assist in a health care setting because of their difficulty with expressing their needs. Health care professionals must use their strong assessment skills to determine what the persons needs are.
My personal experience in working with patients with AD has rarely been the best. When I knew that I would be assigned a patient that has Alzheimer’s disease, I would immediately become frustrated because of the high demands. I recall them climbing out of their beds and I would fear them falling due to their unsteady gaits. Attempting to get the patients to take their medications as ordered would sometimes take hours. The other nurses would often have to help hold the patient due to their combative behavior if an IV or a catheter would need to placed. I felt that they always required more attention than the other patients. Once I started getting more patients with AD, I started to better understand their behaviors and it became easier to anticipate their needs. After a while, I recognized the other nurses felt the same way. Eventually I would start volunteering to take these patients because I didn’t see them the way that I used to.
I noticed a huge stereotype had been placed on this population of people. After volunteering to care for these patients, doctors and nurses told me they couldn’t do it because they were a handful. I would always tell them that they aren’t all the same and they have different levels of needs. The attitudes towards the cognitively challenged patients remained the same. The lab technicians would come to ask for help holding the client so they could draw blood and they would ask for help before they even saw the patient. This population is prejudged and labeled as “difficult” or “crazy”. Patients with...
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