Ageing and chronic diseases

The five most common chronic diseases diagnosed among residents in residential care communities are high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and other dementia, heart disease, depression and arthritis. This isn’t surprising at all seeing as how most of these chronic diseases exist in even younger populations. As populations age, these chronic diseases become harder to get in control.

The least surprising chronic disease is Alzheimer’s and dementia which many residents   in this community are faced with.

In order of percentage of residents requiring assistance with these activities of daily living, from most to least, the following are ADL’s requiting assistance: bathing, walking or locomotion, dressing, toileting, transferring in/out of bed/chairs and lastly eating. I did expect these, particularly bathing. Bathing requires a level of balance, stability, and flexibility that we often do not consider in our day to day routines. Bathing also puts residents at an even more increased risk of falls, which is a major concern in residential care facilities. Even with stability bars installed in showers and bathtubs, it is likely that there is an increased risk of slip and fall when considering lack of the ability to have coordination and mobility.

From most care to least care by staff hours/resident are aides, activities director and staff, registered nurses, licensed practical or vocational nurses and lastly social workers. Aides spend 2.2 hours per resident per day and social workers only spend 0.03 hours per resident per day. This, somewhat, makes sense given the amount of assistance residents need in their activities of daily living. Some of these tasks, such as bathing, can take a considerable amount of time.

 

Falls among residents of residential care communities are reported because falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury death according to the World Health Organization. Emergency department visits and rehospitalizations are also indicators of poor health and can often be preventable. Since both of these indicators can be potentially preventable, they are reported as indicators of overall health and quality of care that is provided at these residential care communities.

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