HIV & AIDS
Residents can acquire many diseases and illnesses because of the decrease in their immune system. Even they can be prone to viruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as HIV.
HIV is a kind of virus that attacks an individual causing them to be unable to fight infections by bringing down the person’s immune system. Since older residents are already having lower immune system, being attacked by such virus can endanger them more.
When the immune system is already down, other opportunistic diseases and illnesses can attack the individual. Once a person becomes infected with HIV, the virus will always be present and is therefore important to know how a person can acquire it in order to do prevention measures.
HIV can be acquired by sharing IV needles with an infected person, blood or body fluid contact and also sexual contact.
The virus is not spread by touching, caressing, coughing and so on but as caregivers, it is always important to do safety measures especially when handling blood or body fluids on an infected HIV client.
A needle stick injury is the most common route for nurses and caregivers to get HIV since they are usually handling them therefore it is important to be very careful when using equipment that can cause cuts or injury.
Residents with HIV can eventually get AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome which is a progressive syndrome which occurs some time after acquiring HIV. AIDS can further weaken an individual’s immune system which makes him more prone to opportunistic diseases.
As of the present, there is no cure to HIV/AIDS thus residents with this illness need to receive early treatment for infections, weakness, pain, and promote nutrition. Residents with HIV/AIDS can be dependent to drugs since there immune system is not functioning properly therefore they can also experience side-effects from the medication. These side-effects may include nausea, vomiting and many others.
By no means is an HIV diagnosis a death sentence. With current medical treatments a person getting HIV can expect a normal life span, if they start the treatment on time. Still, because it is not curable, it is often compared to diabetes– a chronic incurable disease that needs to be controlled.
Unpleasant side-effects of the medication can discourage the HIV patients, that is why it is important to explain and help them comply their medication for their own good. It is very important to keep residents informed of their current condition, the facts about HIV/AIDS and provide emotional support. Counselling services can be of great help to them.
When taking care of such patients, always show a caring, concerned and non-judgmental approach in order for you to have a good rapport with them. A good rapport with the resident provides a good access of what the resident feels and how you will be able to have a good plan of care. Lack of information can lead a resident to be denial of his current condition and being uncooperative especially in taking medications.
It is also important to include the family members or loved ones and also support groups in the plan of care since they give the resident hope and also help in improving his life despite his condition.