Aging Well: Researchers explain how nursing must change.


The demographics are daunting.

A recent article published by tells us how our aging population will change in coming years.

Between 2005 and 2030, the number of adults 65 and over in the United States is expected to nearly double. This rate will be similar in other Western Countries, like Australia.

“With the increasing numbers of older adults, it’s critical that nurses have the ability to provide exemplary care to these individuals—no matter what area of nursing you’re in,” notes Professor Barbara Resnick.

She is co-director, with Professor Sue Thomas, of the School of Nursing’s Developing Center of Excellence in Aging. Launched in December 2009, the center brings together investigators within the School of Nursing and interdisciplinary colleagues from across all professional schools on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus—and institutions nationally and internationally—to advance research and care of the elderly.

“Our goal is to develop innovative interventions and disseminate and implement them in real world settings,” says Resnick.

School of Nursing researchers are exploring vital clinical problems around the state, and they work within a variety of settings, from nursing homes to senior housing. Traditionally nursing has focused on providing care to older adultsbut that is now changing.

“We’re no longer just focused on performing care for the individual. Instead, nursing helps older adults to participate in optimising recovery, health, function, and physical activity, regardless of age or underlying comorbidities.”

“We want to get them doing as much as possible for themselves–whether that means regaining mobility after a hip fracture, or, for those with advanced dementia, being able to feed themselves.

“We’re changing how nurses provide care to older adults,” says Resnick. “We’re not willing to accept the way things have always been done.”

Are you an aged-care nurse? How do you think aged-care nursing should change in wake of an ageing population?

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