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Physiological Changes and Assessment of the Older Adult Part 1

presented by Constance Sheets, DNP, RN, GCNS-BC

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Constance Sheets receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course. Non-Financial: Constance Sheets has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Video Runtime: 64 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 40 Minutes

By 2030, the number of US adults aged 65 or older will more than double to about 71 million, or 20 % of the US population (US Census Bureau, 2010). The increase in the older adult population has far-reaching implications and will put high demands on nurses to provide quality, age-specific care. The US population is living longer, but the increased years of life are not always healthy ones. Nurses will need to have awareness and knowledge of physiological changes that occur in the older adult to improve quality of life and well-being while preventing complications. This course will arm the nurse with the understanding of physiologic changes that occur with aging. Physiologic changes in the aging of each body system will be discussed, along with some assessment parameters that the nurse can use to differentiate expected differences from those that are abnormal.

Meet Your Instructor

Constance Sheets, DNP, RN, GCNS-BC

Dr. Sheets has taught in the undergraduate nursing program at Valparaiso University since 2004. She is certified in gerontology and has an extensive home health background. She has co--authored articles that have been published in Rehabilitation Nursing and Nursing Education Perspectives, and has been a content reviewer for a gerontological nursing textbook. Professor Sheets has…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Overview of Aging

Nurses need to have an awareness of issues specific to the aging population so they can advocate and provide quality care. An overview of why specialized geriatric care is necessary to improve older adult outcomes will be addressed. Theories of aging, gerontological nursing, and roles of the gerontological nurse will be discussed.

2. Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems

Cardiovascular and pulmonary issues are common in the older adult, and the nurse needs to be aware when changes in the system need intervention. Anatomical and physiological changes in aging and their significance in the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems will be discussed. Basic assessment parameters relevant to the system will be reviewed.

3. Renal and Genitourinary System

Increasing rates of chronic disease and deterioration with advancing age require greater vigilance by the nurse to differentiate pathology that needs intervention from “normal” aging processes. To discover abnormalities and judge relevance for a patient takes knowledge of the physiology of each body system. Anatomical and physiological changes in the renal and genitourinary system that occur with aging will be discussed along with basic assessment parameters.

4. Oropharyngeal and Gastrointestinal Systems

Problems with eating and with the gastrointestinal tract can affect the older adult’s quality of life. Changes in aging specific to the oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal systems will be discussed along with basic assessment parameters.

5. Musculoskeletal and Integumentary Systems

Changes in the ability of the older adult to move around can affect the ability to perform the activities of daily living needed for independence. Anatomical and physiological changes in aging and their significance in the musculoskeletal and integumentary systems will be discussed. Basic assessment parameters relevant to the system will be reviewed.

6. Nervous, Endocrine, and Sensory Systems

Being able to adequately sense the world around them is essential to people's safety and well-being. Normal anatomical and physiological changes in aging of the nervous and sensory systems will be discussed, along with an evaluation of the endocrine system. Assessment parameters of these systems will be reviewed.

7. Hematopoietic and Reproductive Systems

Changes to the blood cells and the structure and function of the reproductive tract are issues that can often be overlooked yet are essential aspects to monitor as the individual ages. Changes to the hematopoietic and reproductive systems will be discussed.

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