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Understanding Older People’s Cognitive Function

Our current featured article is titled “The Contribution of Documentation Systems to How Nurses Understand Older People’s Cognitive Function in
” authored by Elaine Moody, PhD, RN; Alison Phinney, PhD, RN;
Geertje Boschma, PhD, RN; and Jennifer Baumbusch, PhD, RN. Please download this article at no cost while it is featured; we welcome your comments! Here is a message that Dr. Moody provided for ANS readers about this work:

Elaine Moody

This paper reports on some of the findings from my doctoral dissertation that explored how nurses working in acute care settings came to understand the cognitive function of older patients. We noted that while nursing literature has reported that nurses miss cases of cognitive impairment and fail to identify conditions such delirium, there was very little written about how nurses build their understandings. We approached this topic from a perspective that recognized the important of the healthcare environment on nurses work and were attuned to social relations in the research process. In the course of the research, we found that the documents that nurses used to communicate, report and archive aspects of their work were shaping how they understood the cognitive function of older patients. This is an element of healthcare settings that can potentially be improved to better reflect the current best evidence about how to support people who have, or are risk of having cognitive, impairment. As the COVID-19 pandemic is drawing more and more attention to the situation of older people in our communities, and the ways that healthcare settings are structured to provide their care, it is an opportune time to consider ways to reorient these settings to the needs of an older population.

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