Nursing Staff Attitudes towards the Elderly - Essay Example

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The paper “Nursing Staff’ Attitudes towards the Elderly” the author discusses a challenge for most health practitioners to maintain their best attitude and professionalism at most times. The paper will review the literature on nursing staff' attitudes towards the elderly…
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Nursing Staff Attitudes towards the Elderly
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Download file to see previous pages When older patients are perceived as being cantankerous and complaining by nurses, the consequence would most likely that the quality of care delivered and the recovery of patients is affected (Courtney, 2000).
 Aging of the Australian population has occurred rapidly in recent years. The greatest increases in number have been indicated among the very old or those aged 80 years or over. The aged population from 65 and older has been predicted to reach 22% or 5 million by the year 2051, doubling that of 1991 or 11% at 1.9 million according to Clare (1994).
 Likewise, it was said that gerontological nursing is still an unpopular specialty and nursing student's interest in pursuing it as a career decrease during their education (Slevin, 1991). The health-care system has been heavily influenced by social developments and ageist stereotypes, combined with increases in the aged population (Palmer, 1994). In as much as older people are perceived by policy makers and society in general as problems requiring considerable attention and resources (Palmer, 1994), it had also been indicated that increases in the Australian health-care costs have been attributed to the increases in the aged population. Nevertheless, Palmer (1994) found that these increases are more closely linked to social and political changes than a physiologically aging population. Accordingly, changes in the health-care system were influenced by the major political parties' social and economic policies, the need to contain hospital operating costs and the promotion of community care for the chronically ill, disabled and frail aged (Courtney, 1997). But it has to be noted that many family members are no longer able to care for their older relatives due to social factors such as increases in divorce and participation of women in the workforce. This has dramatically decreased the availability of informal community support systems for future generations of older people upon which the government has relied heavily since the 1985 de-institutionalization of aged care to a hostel and home-based care (Gibson, 1998).

 Nurse Attitude
 Several studies have identified factors, such as an area of practice, age, gender and years in clinical practice, as affecting nurses' attitude strength (Lookinland, 1991). Soderhamn and colleagues found younger and male nurses possessing more negative attitudes in comparison with older and female nurses. Soderhamn's (2001) research also demonstrates that higher education, gerontology courses and more years of clinical experience were found to be associated with less negative attitudes. Another influence is the area of clinical practice influencing attitude strength (Soderhamn, 2001). Cited as the example was that nurses working in acute settings were found to use more negative stereotypical labeling to describe their older patients to student nurses than those working in elder-care settings (McLafferty, 2004). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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