The management of chronic diseases and the long-term conditions of older people in the community is a concern for both the nurses on the frontline, and the commissioning services. Understanding the needs, views and experiences of this population of patients is important when developing care to address their expectations. Older patients may hold different healthcare beliefs and their views can be strong and contrary to current preventative long-term management plans. An individual holistic approach to assess their needs can improve adherence and amend misconceptions of care.
To achieve the best outcomes for older people community nurses possess a broad spectrum of knowledge of the varied chronic diseases; ranging from chronic heart and lung disorders, to musculoskeletal problems or various types and stages of dementia. They are also able to assess psychosocial as well as physical needs – and possess the critical thinking to solve a range of problems related to these.
There are several ways in which community nurses can enhance long standing therapeutic relationships with older people: