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What Social Factors Affect Adult-Gerontology Patient Health and Nursing Practices?

Adult-gerontology patients’ health is shaped by several social factors that can impact their physical, mental and emotional well-being. One key factor is the adjustment to aging, which can be challenging for many individuals as they navigate changes in their physical abilities, relationships and societal roles. Attitudes toward aging also affect how older adults perceive themselves and their health.

Social-psychological and sociological theories of aging offer insights into how social structures and cultural norms can impact health outcomes for older adults. Adapting to aging, family patterns, intergenerational relationships, involvement in leisure activities and transitioning into retirement are all important factors influencing this population’s health behaviors and care. Nurse leaders can support nurses working with adult-gerontology patients by providing training on these topics and promoting a holistic approach to care that addresses social and medical needs.

As graduates of the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Gerontologic Clinical Nurse Leader program from the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM), nurse leaders possess the knowledge to support nurses and implement best practices to improve the care of adult-gerontology patients.

How Adult-Gerontology Populations Receive Care

Adult-gerontology patients receive care from various sources, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and home health agencies. However, the quality of care they receive can be influenced by social factors such as socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and education level. For example, those with lower incomes or who belong to minority groups may have limited access to healthcare services due to systemic barriers like discrimination or lack of insurance coverage.

Nurse leaders can help support their patients by advocating for policies that improve access to healthcare services for all individuals regardless of their social status or psychosocial issues. Additionally, they can train their staff to provide culturally competent and age-appropriate care that considers each patient’s unique needs and backgrounds. By doing so, nurse leaders can ensure that adult-gerontology patients receive high-quality care that meets their physical and emotional needs throughout aging.

Nurse Leader’s Role in Supporting Nurses and Their Patients

The role of a nurse leader in supporting nurses and their patients is crucial when it comes to adult-gerontology care. Nurse leaders must ensure that their team understands the social factors that affect the health of these patients, including attitudes toward aging and family patterns. They should provide training on the social determinants of health that influence the health of adult gerontologic patients, including personal relationships, history of trauma, life stressors and financial status, to help nurses understand the unique needs of this population.

Furthermore, nurse leaders support their teams by creating a positive work environment that encourages collaboration and open communication. They can also advocate for policies promoting patient-centered care and prioritizing the needs of adult-gerontology patients, topics explored in ULM’s online MSN – Gerontologic Clinical Nurse Leader program courses such as Health Policy and Global Health and Social Gerontology.

Nurse leaders should also encourage intergenerational relationships between patients and staff to promote socialization and combat isolation in older adults. By supporting their nurses in providing comprehensive care for adult gerontology patients, nurse leaders can significantly improve health outcomes for this population.

Adjustment to Aging, Attitudes Toward Aging and Successful Aging

Adjusting to aging can be a challenging process for many adult-gerontology patients. This adjustment may include changes in physical and cognitive abilities, as well as changes in social roles and relationships. Attitudes toward aging can also play a significant role in shaping the health of this population. Negative attitudes toward aging can lead to decreased self-esteem, social isolation and poor health outcomes.

Successful aging is another important concept related to the health of adult-gerontology patients. This term refers to maintaining physical and cognitive function, participating in meaningful activities and maintaining positive social relationships throughout aging.

Nurse leaders can support nurses and their patients by promoting positive attitudes toward aging, educating them on successful strategies and advocating for policies that support healthy aging. Additionally, nurse leaders can encourage intergenerational relationships between older adults and younger generations to promote social connection and combat ageism.

Learn more about ULM’s online MSN – Gerontologic Clinical Nurse Leader program.

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