Chronic Diseases in Elderly People

Introduction

Numerous diseases can develop throughout the whole life and turn into their chronic versions if they are not treated appropriately or completely ignored (Kennedy et al., 2014). This hints at the idea that each of these diseases has to be addressed as soon as possible. Nonetheless, such diseases may transpire in elderly people, and the outcomes of such events may be unforeseeable (Kennedy et al., 2014).

Definition

Some of the most prevalent chronic diseases in elderly patients include heart disease, cancer, obesity, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes. These diseases can also be characterized as conditions that can continue the process of development throughout the whole life without interruptions (Kennedy et al., 2014). These diseases are often associated with infectious diseases, but they are not the same.

Epidemiology

When it comes to chronic diseases in elderly patients, several critical elements have to be enumerated when discussing their epidemiology:

  • First, the epidemics of chronic diseases may take at least several decades to become fully established (this means that they are inextricably linked to long duration and numerous prevention opportunities) (Pawelec, Goldeck, & Derhovanessian, 2014);
  • Second, chronic diseases are rather prevalent but require a systematic approach to be applied to be treated (Pawelec et al., 2014);
  • Third, the response to these diseases is usually long-term and can be characterized by an integrated response that takes into consideration all the impactful variables known to nurses (Pawelec et al., 2014).

Clinical Presentation

Numerous deaths of elderly patients can be associated with the impact of chronic diseases and the lack of adequate treatment and necessary knowledge. Nonetheless, deaths associated with chronic diseases may occur even among the patients that have not reached 70 (Kennedy et al., 2014). Chronic diseases are projected to become an overpowering source of negative patient outcomes in the case if no measures are applied.

Complications

In elderly patients, chronic diseases may cause several complications. The latter may be caused by the lack of certain knowledge or the inability to engage in physical exercises (Kennedy et al., 2014). The main complication that has to be mentioned in this project is the death of a patient. Some additional complications may transpire throughout the treatment process such as heart issues, kidney stones, and many other adverse patient outcomes.

Diagnosis

Elderly patients with chronic diseases should be diagnosed based on diseases that led to the development of chronic conditions. To diagnose these patients, the nurse will have to address their stress conditions and substance abuse. This is reasonable because the latter is one of the most common contributors to the development of chronic diseases (Pawelec et al., 2014). Also, it is advised to pay close attention to patient education – the patient may be merely informed and aware of the fact that they are exposed to a chronic condition. Expanding on this idea, there is a necessity to perform several steps that may help in dealing with chronic conditions.

Conclusion with PICOT Question

One of the ways to deal with chronic conditions may be the development of an education-based intervention that will motivate elderly patients to participate in the process and share their vision of the existing state of affairs to facilitate the treatment process.

PICOT: (P) In elderly patients with chronic diseases, (I) do patient education intervention, (C) compared with only medication treatments, (O) increase their health knowledge and improve their health status (T) in a period of 6 months?

References

Kennedy, B. K., Berger, S. L., Brunet, A., Campisi, J., Cuervo, A. M., Epel, E. S.,… Rando, T. A. (2014). Geroscience: Linking aging to chronic disease. Cell, 159(4), 709-713.

Pawelec, G., Goldeck, D., & Derhovanessian, E. (2014). Inflammation, ageing and chronic disease. Current Opinion in Immunology, 29, 23-28.