Constipation in Older Adults

Topics: Constipation, Dietary fiber, Defecation Pages: 4 (1187 words) Published: November 17, 2012
Constipation is an unpleasant and often distressing symptom that can happen to anyone at any time. Regularity of bowel movement is different for every person. “The diagnosis of constipation is based on the patient’s history, physical examination, possibly results of a barium enema and stool testing for occult blood”. (Day et al, 2010). Symptoms include frequency of defecation; hardness of stools; abdominal fullness or bloatedness, and abdominal pain. (Prynn,P., 2011). It is non-life-threatening; it causes distress that leads to patient discomfort and diminished quality of life. Constipation is considered a major health concern for providers of care, especially for patients in high-risk groups such as the elderly; less mobile individuals, and the neurologically impaired. The causes of constipation can be influenced by physical, psychological, physiological, emotional and environmental factors. I picked constipation to discuss because I am a Personal Support Worker, I provide care for the elderly; most of them have health conditions which are likely contributory factors. Older adults are more prone to constipation than younger adults because peristalsis of the intestine usually weakened as we age; ingestion of certain medications; also due to reduced activity levels; muscle weakness and inadequate amounts of fluids and fibre intake. (Kozeir et al, 2010). As a primary caregiver to my Clients, I have to make sure they are meeting the quality of life by simply monitoring signs and symptoms of constipation. Prevention is better than to treat, every precaution must be made to prevent a recurrence. Also, it is my responsibility to teach the family how to care for their love ones whom they suspect to be constipated. I have a Client who is paraplegic due to Spinal Cord Injury, she is also diabetic. Since March of 2010 she is on opioids for long term pain management. Recently an MRI has been done to her to see why her pain scale is always 10 out of 10, 10...

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