As the baby boomer generation ages, there is an increasing need for geriatric care management to support the health and well-being of older adults. Geriatric care management involves a comprehensive approach to caring for older adults, addressing their medical, social, and emotional needs.
The aging population has significantly increased worldwide, leading to a notable growth in the market potential for geriatric care services. This trend is expected to continue until 2028, which is why the geriatric care management market is booming. Globe News Wire said the geriatric care management market was valued at US$ 400 million in 2020. However, it is projected to reach US$ 700 million by the end of 2028.
Because the demand for the senior care management market is increasing, the requirement for RNs who can care for geriatric patients is also increasing. These RNs are uniquely positioned to lead the charge in geriatric care management due to their healthcare expertise and ability to coordinate care across multiple providers and settings.
This article explains the role of RNs in geriatric care management, including their responsibilities, skills, and challenges. It also discusses the benefits of geriatric care management for patients, families, and healthcare systems. Finally, it provides practical tips for RNs pursuing this rewarding and important specialty.
1. Pursue a Specialization as a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Gerontology nursing is a specialty that focuses on the care of older adults, encompassing physical, social, and psychological aspects of aging.
According to Future Market Insights, the global demand for geriatric care services is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% from 2022 to 2032. Furthermore, as the population ages, the demand for healthcare professionals with expertise in gerontology will continue to grow.
Pursuing a specialization as an adult gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) is an excellent way to meet this demand and positively impact older adults’ lives. The benefits of pursuing a specialization as an AGNP are many.
First, AGNPs play a critical role in promoting the health and well-being of older adults at increased risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. AGNPs can provide early intervention and preventive care, improving outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.
Fortunately, numerous adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs online make it easier than ever to gain the necessary knowledge and skills. In addition, these programs allow nurses to complete their coursework at their own pace, often while working full-time, providing flexibility in location and schedule.
Additionally, online programs may offer lower tuition costs than traditional programs and provide access to a wider range of clinical sites.
2. Develop Comprehensive Care Plans
Comprehensive care plans are essential for RNs to ensure patients receive individualized care that addresses their unique needs and goals. A comprehensive care plan typically includes a detailed assessment of the patient’s medical, social, and psychological needs, as well as their preferences and values.
Based on this assessment, healthcare professionals can develop a tailored plan of care that addresses the patient’s physical and emotional health, as well as their functional abilities and overall quality of life. Comprehensive care plans are especially important for older adults and those with chronic conditions, as they require ongoing monitoring and management of their health.
3. Coordinate with Other Healthcare Professionals
According to Zippia, around 956,639 geriatric nursing assistants are currently working in the US. Most must be associated with other healthcare professionals because it’s an important part of their work. However, many nurses also prefer to work privately. These nurses must coordinate with healthcare professionals from different disciplines, including physicians, social workers, and therapists.
All play important roles in ensuring that patients receive comprehensive care that addresses their unique needs, and their interaction opens many doors to career opportunities.
Effective communication and collaboration among these professionals must ensure that patient care is coordinated, seamless, and efficient. They must share information, collaborate on treatment plans, and ensure patients receive the right care at the right time.
By coordinating with other healthcare professionals, providers can ensure patients receive the best possible care, leading to better outcomes and improved patient satisfaction.
4. Advocating for Patient Rights
Healthcare professionals, especially RNs, have a responsibility to promote and protect the rights of their patients, including the right to informed consent, privacy, and autonomy. It means ensuring that patients have access to information about their healthcare options, that their medical information is kept confidential, and that their wishes are respected.
Healthcare professionals must also be aware of cultural or linguistic barriers that may impact patients’ ability to fully understand and participate in their care. By advocating for patient rights, healthcare professionals can build trust and rapport with their patients and improve the overall quality of care.
5. Preventing Hospital Readmissions
An important goal for healthcare providers that can improve patient outcomes is to prevent hospital readmission. It reduces healthcare costs and increases patient satisfaction. Various factors, including inadequate discharge planning, lack of follow-up care, and medication errors, can cause hospital readmissions.
They can take several steps to prevent hospital readmissions, including providing clear discharge instructions and follow-up care, ensuring patients access appropriate medications, and coordinating care with other healthcare providers.
Additionally, they can work to address underlying issues that may contribute to hospital readmissions, such as social determinants of health or chronic conditions. By taking a proactive approach to preventing hospital readmissions, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
6. Managing Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, require ongoing monitoring and management to ensure patients remain healthy and avoid complications. Healthcare providers can take several steps to effectively manage chronic conditions, including educating patients, developing personalized treatment plans, and promoting self-management.
They must also work to address any barriers to care that may impact a patient’s ability to manage their chronic condition effectively. By managing chronic conditions, they can improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance the overall quality of services.
7. Educating Family Members
Family members often play a critical role in a patient’s care, particularly for older adults or those with chronic conditions. By educating family members on the patient’s condition, treatment options, and self-care strategies, healthcare providers can enhance the patient’s overall care experience and improve outcomes.
Family education can also help to ensure that patients receive consistent care at home, reducing the risk of complications and hospital readmissions. Additionally, family education can help to address any concerns or questions that family members may have about the patient’s care, improving communication and promoting trust between patients, families, and healthcare providers.
Geriatric care management is critical to providing high-quality care for an aging population. RNs are crucial in coordinating care, educating patients and their families, and advocating for patient rights.
By pursuing a gerontology nurse practitioner specialization, RNs can gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care for older adults.
Additionally, by developing comprehensive care plans, coordinating with other healthcare professionals, and taking a proactive approach to preventing hospital readmissions, RNs can help to improve outcomes and enhance the overall quality of care for their patients.
As the population ages, the role of RNs in geriatric care management will become increasingly important, and RNs can lead the charge in ensuring that older adults receive the best possible care.