GERIATRIC ASSESSMENT: MALNUTRITION
Geriatric Assessment: Malnutrition
In a continuously growing geriatric population, malnutrition is one of the most common and most undiagnosed problems. Malnutrition is not only the indicator of existing medical and socio-economic problems, but can also be a cause of physiological and psychological dysfunctions. Proper nursing assessment in the elderly should be applied in order to identify and address this problem. In this paper I would like to focus on two main points of geriatric assessment – physiologic and psychosocial. There are two categories of factors that can contribute to malnutrition in the elderly population. Physiological factors include chewing or swallowing disorders, cardiac insufficiency, respiratory problems, problems with digestion, absorption, and elimination, as well as diabetes, chronic pain, and infection. Psychosocial factors can be divided into two sub-categories psychological – depression, mental retardation, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the socio-economical category, which includes social isolation, poverty, cultural diversity, and an inability to access food, either due to physical disability or absence of transportation. Assessment of all these factors should be done thoroughly and routinely for older people a population to identify existing or potential problems related to malnutrition. Nursing assessment is the process of gathering a comprehensive data about the client's present, past, and potential health problems, as well as a description of the client as a whole in his or her environment (Lagerquist, 2006). For proper assessment and interpretation of the results, it is very important to understand the physiologic changes unique to this population, as well as the differences between normal aging-related changes and health alterations caused by illnesses and social changes (Cary, 2011). In providing proper nursing care and to prevent from future health issues nurses should...
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