Elderly Care and Health Policies in Florida

Population and Problem

The issue of elderly care remains a reason for major concern in Florida. A combination of factors such as the drop in the number of quality healthcare practitioners, the tools and inventories used for catering to the needs of a target demographic, etc., define a decline in the levels of quality care in the specified setting (Pfortmueller, Lindner, & Exadaktylos, 2015). Furthermore, the target population can be characterized by a considerable lack of mobility, which increases the probability of falls in both hospital environments and home settings (Vlaeyen et al., 2015).

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Falls affect the quality of elderly people’s life greatly, leading to the development of numerous issues from minor ones such as bruises to major health complications such as fractures and concussions (Jeon, Jeong, Petrofsky, Lee, & Yim, 2014). With the adoption of a program aimed at supervision and awareness building, an APRN will be able to address the current situation.

Policy

The Stepping On the program is the policy that is expected to contribute to a drop in the number of falls among elderly people in Florida hospitals. The specified program extends to providing assistance to not only inpatients but also outpatients by giving elderly people the confidence to manage their mobility issues (Okubo et al., 2015). A recently developed legal framework that was designed to improve the well-being of elderly patients in the hospital setting is expected to provide the support of the Stepping On program execution. Particularly, the Fl. Stat. § 944.804 needs to be mentioned as the foundation for implementing the fall prevention program since the identified legal standard compels healthcare providers to offer supervision and extensive assistance to the elderly people that require help (“The 2017 Florida statutes,” 2000).

Therefore, the policy entitles healthcare providers and nurses to the role of supervisors and educators, encouraging patients to develop the knowledge and awareness that will help them identify existing threats to their well-being and avoid them to prevent falls in the hospital environment. In addition, the policy encourages healthcare providers to reconsider the environment in which the elderly are placed in the setting of a healthcare facility. Changes in the spatial layout are recommended to prevent instances of falls in the hospital environment.

Legislators

The Fl. Stat. § 944.804, which allows for the existence of the program described above, is geared primarily toward increasing the involvement of healthcare providers and the associated institutions to accept a change in their policy toward providing care for the elderly. The focus on assuming responsibility for the vulnerable population, as well as the identification of the dynamics between a nurse and a patient to promote the further acquisition of crucial knowledge and skills by the latter, implies that nurses and the hospital staff should be seen as the people that define the success of the policy implementation.

However, when considering the responsibilities and power to which the specified stakeholders are entitled by the Florida law, one should also mention the importance of involving the Florida Board of Nurses in the management of the process (Vlaeyen et al., 2015). Given the influence that the specified body has on the implementation of programs and the arrangement of hospital processes, it is essential to ensure its involvement in the program implementation. As a result, roles and responsibilities will be assigned to nurses and healthcare experts respectively to create the setting in which the elderly will be able to avoid threats to their health, particularly the factors that may increase their chances to fall.

APRN’s Role

In the implementation of the program aimed at preventing falls among the elderly, and APRN is supposed to perform several functions and is, therefore, entitled to several crucial roles. The one of an administrator is the primary role that an APRN has to accept. The specified responsibility implies the rearrangement of the hospital environment to ensure a safe and secure setting for the target population. Removing clutter as the key factor determining the patients’ propensity to falls should be deemed as the first step that nurses will have to consider.

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An APRN will also have to assume the responsibility of a supervisor since the implementation of the program will have to be coordinated appropriately. Thus, the possibility of failing to meet patients’ needs will be avoided successfully. In addition, an APRN must play the part of an educator by training nurses to assist elderly patients and helping the latter to acquire crucial skills in fall prevention.

The specified roles will demand a great degree of involvement from an APRN. Thus, an APRN has to be aware of the needs of all stakeholders involved to be able to meet their requirements and put the program to practice successfully. The identified goal can be accomplished by enhancing the communication process between an APRN and patients, as well as an APRN and the rest of the nursing staff. As a result, possible hindrances in managing the integration of the Stepping On the program will be located and handled respectively.

Influences on Clinical Practice

The promotion of the program and its implementation in the context of a hospital environment is expected to have a large effect on clinical practice. Additional opportunities for improving communication and cooperation between nurses will be located. Moreover, the quality of patient education will increase due to an enhanced dialogue between a nurse and a patient.

The program is also believed to have a positive effect on the quality of care due to the introduction of uniform standards for fall prevention. With a set of rigid rules based on which decision-making will occur in a hospital setting, nurses will manage health issues more efficiently. Thus, improved standards for clinical practice will be created.

Promotion of Interdisciplinary Cooperation

The implementation of the Stepping On the program is barely possible without collaboration between experts from different areas, including the clinical one, the realm of nursing, etc. Therefore, multidisciplinary collaboration must be deemed as an indispensable step toward enhancing the efficacy of the program. The use of a multidisciplinary approach also helps encompass a wide range of risks to which elderly patients may be exposed, especially after undergoing surgery (Smith et al., 2015). Therefore, the incorporation of the strategies that will allow for the development of multidisciplinary cooperation between healthcare experts is essential. The identified change in the environment of a healthcare organization will contribute to a rapid rise in the overall quality level of provided care.

Conclusion

A fall prevention program based on the multidisciplinary framework of collaboration within a healthcare environment will open a plethora of opportunities for the design of a cost-efficient approach toward managing patients’ needs. By utilizing the resources that are available to health experts operating in different fields, one will create opportunities for a sustainable approach toward meeting patients’ needs and preventing falls. Furthermore, more rational use of the inventory and medications will be provided. Thus, the quality of care will rise to a considerable degree.

References

Jeon, M. Y., Jeong, H., Petrofsky, J., Lee, H., & Yim, J. (2014). Effects of a randomized controlled recurrent fall prevention program on risk factors for falls in the frail elderly living at home in rural communities. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research, 20, 2283-2291.

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Okubo, Y., Osuka, Y., Jung, S., Rafael, F., Tsujimoto, T., Aiba, T.,… Tanaka, K. (2016). Walking can be more effective than balance training in fall prevention among community‐dwelling older adults. Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 16(1), 118-125.

Pfortmueller, C. A., Lindner, G., & Exadaktylos, A. K. (2014). Reducing fall risk in the elderly: risk factors and fall prevention, a systematic review. Minerva Medica, 105(4), 275-81.

Smith, M. L., Stevens, J. A., Ehrenreich, H., Wilson, A. D., Schuster, R. J., Cherry, C. O. B., & Ory, M. G. (2015). Healthcare providers’ perceptions and self-reported fall prevention practices: findings from a large New York health system. Frontiers in Public Health, 3(1), 17-22.

The 2017 Florida statutes. (2000). Web.

Vlaeyen, E., Coussement, J., Leysens, G., Van der Elst, E., Delbaere, K., Cambier, D.,… Dejaeger, E. (2015). Characteristics and effectiveness of fall prevention programs in nursing homes: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63(2), 211-221.

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