The number of older adults in America is rising every year. This increase in the elderly population will have a direct impact on health care delivery and perianesthesia nursing. Consequently, nurses need to increase their knowledge regarding the geriatric patient undergoing surgery. Areas of particular importance for nurses are preoperative assessment, medications taken by the elderly, preoperative instructions, intraoperative nursing care, postoperative nursing care, and discharge planning. Also of particular concern for the elderly surgical patient are nutrition, skin integrity, pain management, and promotion of sleep and comfort. The geriatric client requires extra time when being prepared for both elective and emergency surgery. A little planning goes a long way, and nurses need to enhance their communications skills to promote positive outcomes for the geriatric surgical patient. Caring for the elderly surgical patient can be a significant challenge, but if nurses work together as part of the perianesthesia/perioperative team, the experience can be extremely rewarding.
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