Today, worldwide, there are 800 million persons aged 60 years and over, and this number is expected to more than double by 2050 – rising to just over two billion (Harvard Initiative for Global Health 2011). It is clear that a growing population of older adults and an increase in chronic disease will place increased demand on a range of health services - health promotion, illness prevention, rehabilitation, acute and chronic care, and end-of-life care.
This is where nurses can provide the solution. Nurses provide cost-effective solutions to complex system problems. We open up access to quality health care to everyone in a community. We strive to prevent illness and keep people well informed and educated so they can manage their own conditions. Nurses can help safeguard the safety and security of older people. The mistreatment of older people is a global problem. Research shows increasing reports of abuse of elders at home and in health care settings. Nurses have an ethical and moral responsibility to serve as advocates for the world’s vulnerable and victimized populations.
Nursing services constitute the largest single element in providing care for the frail, sick and dying, while also contributing to health maintenance and disease prevention. Supporting family-care, self-care and the right of the older person to participate in decisions concerning life-style and treatment, are important aspects of the nurse’s role. Older persons tend to be considered as a homogeneous group. ICN firmly believes that older persons need and have a right to expect individualised treatment or care plans developed with the nurse, a key member of the health team.
ICN has produced fact sheets on many different issues of ageing:
- An Ageing Nursing Workforce
- Elder Abuse
- ICN on Healthy Ageing: A Public Health and Nursing Challenge
- Nutrition for Older Adults
- Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
A position statement on Nursing care of the older person also highlights the key role of nurses in the care of older persons
A joint study by the OECD and the European Commission DG Employment entitled “A Good Life in Old Age? Monitoring and Improving Quality in Long-term Care” focuses on elderly care and the importance of developing ways to measure safe, effective and responsive long-term care services. It also looks at on-going country initiatives to improve the quality of life of elderly.
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