Geriatrics, the study of old age, includes the physiology, pathology, diagnosis, and management of the diseases of older adults. The broader field of gerontology, or the study of the aging process, draws from the biologic, psychological, and sociologic sciences. Because hospitalized patients are being discharged to home “quicker and sicker” than ever before, nurses in all settings, including hospital, home care, rehabilitation, and outpatient settings, need to be knowledgeable about geriatric nursing principles and skilled in meeting the needs of elderly patients.

The governments concern for the elderly began with India’s participation in the World Assembly Conference in Vienna in 1982 where India adopted the United Nations International Plan of Action on Aging. This plan focuses on the government’s role in adopting programmes for the care and protection of the elderly, synchronizing these with the changing socioeconomic conditions of the society.


The government of India announced a National policy on olders persons in January 1999.this policy identifies principal areas of intervention as financial security, health care, nutrition, shelter, education, welfare, protection of life and property of older citizens. The policy provides for a broad framework for collaboration and cooperation, both within as well as between governmental and non-governmental agencies. An important thrust in the policy is on active and productive involvement of older persons, and not just their care.

In India, Help Age India supports the following programmes to make life easier for older people:

  • Free cataract operations
  • Mobile Medicare unites
  • Income generation and micro-credit
  • Old age home
  • Day care centres
  • Adopt-a-Gran(Grand parent)
  • Disaster mitigation.
  • Rehabilitation can be defined in a number of ways. Pragmatically, it can be seen as a process that aims to restore the functional capacities of a disabled person. The major goal of rehabilitation programs for older people is to assist them to manage personal activities of daily living without the assistance of another person.
  • When we think of “rehabilitation,” we are generally referring to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.  Rehabilitation is a core element in the practice of medicine for older people involving multidisciplinary team working – crucially physiotherapists, occupational therapists and often (dependent on patient need) speech and language therapists, psychologists or others. When we think of “rehabilitation,” we are generally referring to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
  • National Council for Older Persons

A National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) has been constituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to operationalise the National Policy on Older Persons. The basic objectives of the NCOP are

  1. to advice the Government on policies and programmes for older persons provide feedback
  2. to the Government on the implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons as well as on specific programme initiatives for older persons
  3. advocate the best interests of older persons provide a nodal point at the national level for redressing the grievances of older persons which are of an individual nature
  4. provide lobby for concessions, rebates and discounts for older persons both with the Government as well as with the corporate sector
  5. represent the collective opinion of older persons to the Government
  6. suggest steps to make old age productive and interesting
  7. suggest measures to enhance the quality of inter-generational relationships
  8. undertake any other work or activity in the best interest of older persons

There are 39 members in the council. A seven-member working group has also been constituted from amongst the members of NCOP. The Working Group has so far held two meetings to discuss ways and means to achieve its objectives.

Nurses responsibility for geriatric care

Act as a liaison for families living at a distance. This includes regular visits, attending physician appointments and notifying families of changes or potential problem. Assess ability to safe drive .Explain and suggest medical and health care options based on expertise in the health care and residential housing field .Extend support to client and family members. Help the client designate a health care proxy and compose a living will. Hire, screen, coordinate, and monitor in home health care and help services. Identify problems and services necessary to rectify them. Intervene during a crisis. Offer a professional, objective point-of –view regarding senior care options. Provide community education and client advocacy. Recommend resources, support groups, and references for elderly client’s and their families. Save families time and money by eliminating duplicative and unnecessary service .Utilize trusted resources to make physician, mental health, attorney, trust officers, and residential housing referrals.

Since geriatric is unique, it needs special care because treating geriatric patients requires different strategy and is very complex. The vast majority of outcome studies show that good geriatric care results in increased quality of life, lower morbidity, and lower mortality. Nursing care is one of the important components of geriatric care. The nursing care aims at helping old people for healthy and actives aging and assist in providing need based care to frail, sick and dying elderly to promote comfortable and dignified death.

By – NURSING TUTOR – : Sarita Dhasmana
Department – Dept. of Nursing
UCBMSH Magazine – (YouthRainBow)
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