Rest & Comfort
When the elderly patients are newly admitted into long-term care facility, it is considered normal that it will take some time for them to adjust into new environment.
However, such adjustments can also affect rest and sleeping patterns of the resident. Like any adults, the elderly require as much sleep as the other
Although many residents need naps during daytime, you should also make sure that they would not be napping too much. This is because it can affect their sleeping patterns, making them to stay awake at night and feel drowsy during daytime. Another reason is that they can signal diseases that can cause fever. Night awakening can cause confusion, which is a sign of decrease of oxygen to the brain.
Recognizing Signs of Pain & Discomfort
Sometimes the signs of pain and discomfort are not clearly visible in patients. That is why it is also important to observe indirect signs. One of these is change of sleeping patterns.
If someone is unable to sleep without a clear reason, or does not respond clearly to your questions they may be having neurological problems. Another reason for not being unable to sleep is the discomfort or pain.
Some residents have high pain tolerance or may have lost their ability to feel it as sharply as others. Other residents deny that they are in pain altogether, even though they may be suffering a great deal. That is why they may not complain directly and you have to observe the indirect warning signs.
Signs of pain, which can be seen physically, are facial grimace, sweating, crying, moaning, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, difficulty in breathing, guarding position and many others. Nurses can also determine the intensity of pain using a pain scale of 0-5 (where zero means no pain and five means intolerable pain) and assist nurse with administrating drug to relieve the pain. Nurses can give pain relievers or analgesic drugs to ease the pain that they are experiencing.
Once the resident has been given analgesic, you must help the nurse in assessing the response of the resident to the treatment. This can be done by analyzing the vital signs of the resident and residents report of pain relief.
Abnormal change in the resident’s vital signs may indicate adverse drug reaction. Such signs must be reported as soon as possible in order for it to be treated or intervened early.
Other ways to make patient more comfortable are changing their position of sleep if they need and making sure there is nothing that disturbs them (like bright lights or loud noises) while at rest.
You can also advise them to do diversion activities such as meditation, listening to music, providing a back rub and creating a peaceful and quiet environment.