Geriatrics began last Monday; it is very different than surgery. The atmosphere is more laid back, however, you are dealing with many medications and potential complications. Working with geriatric patients especially in long-term facilities can be sad; many patients are suffering from dementia and consequences of their comorbid conditions. Saint Ignatius Nursing Home takes great care of their patients. I love seeing 85-90 year old women with pigtails, side braids and twists.
For the most part in evaluating patients I have continued their current plan of care. All the patients were stable and content. My favorite patient was a 90-year-old woman who told me she was frightened because she felt a non-tender lump on the left side of her chest. I told her to point to the area. I politely told her that that lump was nothing to be worried about that it was her pacemaker. She and I laughed very hard for about 5 minutes. Afterward she thanked me and told me that I had just put to rest 2 days worth of worry. I like to think of this story as a sad story with a happy ending. Patients with dementia are just that, patients. You cannot discard any complaint from them because even they need piece of mind and reassurance. Later that day I came back to check on her, she did not remember who I was but she told me the story about some “nurse” who saved the day. It made me smile because I knew that person was me.
Behavioral Medicine begins on Monday so more to come!