Assessing the older adult

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There are many things that go into the assessment of older adults. When assessing older adults, it is important to do so often, as their health status can change quickly. There are things that can be checked to help predict a decline in a patient’s condition. In the following paragraphs I will describe one screening tool that is used for care in the older adult called the Fulmer SPICES assessment tool.

SPICES SPICES is an assessment tool that helps get the overall view of an older adults’ health status to determine if further assessment is needed. The S stands for sleep, P stands for problems eating or feeding, I stands for incontinence, C is for confusion, E is for evidence of falls, and S is for skin breakdown (Fulmer & The John A. Harford Foundation, n.d.). I assessed a 66-year-old female patient using the SPICES assessment tool and found my patient to be in great health. The S is about sleep and asking how a patient is sleeping, or if they have been getting adequate sleep is important. If a patient is not sleeping well it could mean there are other problems. The person I assessed C.C. states she has been sleeping just fine. The P is concerned with problems eating or feeding. If adequate nutrition is not achieved that can lead to other problems for older patients. C.C. states she has been eating good.

She went on to state she needs to get back to watching what she is eating and get back to maintaining her weight. The I refers to incontinence or urinary issues, and C.C. states she has the occasional urgency, but overall has no problems with incontinence. C is for confusion. This was my favorite part of the assessment as C.C. states she is always confused, but that is from trying to keep up with her two children and four grandchildren’s schedules, she was very sharp and never seemed to be confused or forgetful. E is for evidence of falls. Upon completion of this assessment C.C. went outside in the 20-degree temperatures to load the wood stove that heats her house. She had no concerns or issues with falling. S is for skin breakdown. C.C. had a cut on her hand from cooking earlier in the week, and some dryness was noted on the hand from the cold temperatures as of late. She states that is normal for her and she applies lotion at night to help combat breakdown.Patient HealthC.C’s overall health was great. For a 66-year-old woman she might have been in better shape than me. She states she has never felt better and is happy to be able to be here for her children and grandchildren. Using the SPICES assessment gave me a quick insight to this patients’ overall health. She was in good spirits and did not seem to be having any apparent issues. She was cooperative and seemed genuinely happy with where she was in the course of her life.

Assessment ChangesAfter assessing C.C. with the SPICES assessment, it would be easy to see an obvious change in her status. If she suddenly started having trouble with confusion or incontinence that would prompt further investigation and assessment to be completed to try and discover the underlying problem for her. When things change with older adults they can continue to change very quickly (Borenstien et al., 2016). When a baseline assessment is completed with a patient, such as C.C., this gives the caregivers a good starting point for care. If the patient seems to be fine most of the time, or stable, and all of a sudden things are different, then there could be a underlying problem that needs to be assessed further, and if the SPICES assessment is completed on every shift the change in health status could be caught early and this could prevent a bigger complication from occurring.

If a patient starts having trouble with confusion, that could lead to a fall and then there is risk for injury, that could have been prevented if the SPICES was completed and the nurse caught the change in status (Borenstien et al., 2016). A change in eating habits could be due to several things and if the change is noticed it could help prevent other complications. ConclusionAssessment is important, and SPICES is a good quick tool to use to get an overall picture of the status of patients (Fulmer & The John A. Harford Foundation, n.d.). When older adults have medical problems, they get worse quickly and the earlier the changes are noticed, the faster they can be treated. Preventing injury and illnesses in the older population is always important as they are more susceptible to infections upon hospitalization and if that can be prevented that is always a positive thing.