How "MEDICALLY" stable do pt's need to be on a geropsych unit in a hospital?

  1. Is it like a med/surg floor for elderly w/ psych issues?
    or is it mainly psych issues w/ MINOR medical problems? i'm referring to postions in a hospital, not a nursing home. preferrably i would like to start at a psych hospital (if this is the area i choose), but that may not be possible & i don't know too much about geropsych units?

    for example, at the psych hospital pt's have to be medically stable, before they will except them, is that the same policy of a geropsych unit in a regular hospital?

    anyone know???
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   lovinghands
    You might want to speak to one of the nurses at the hospital that you are considering or see if you can view/take a tour of their facility. I can give you some general input based on my own experience but I don't know of their guidelines.

    In my facility, which is a state psych hospital, there are 3 geropsych units aka nursing home units. These pts that reside on these units have similar medical conditions to nursing home pts. I would not classify any of their medical conditions as minor as they are in need of nursinig home care. Its not uncommon to be dealing with catheters, feeding tubes, IVs on these units - occasionally they have a trach pt or someone on comfort cares. So assessment skills are critical when working with this population as their emotional/mental/medical conditions may be a barrier in their care.

    Not all geriatric pts that have a mental illness are placed on nursing home units, at least not in my facility. New admits, including total care, are initially placed on one of our acute/admission units. The admission unit helps determine the pt needs and future placement. Most pts on our admissions units are discharged to home. If placement is necessary, community resources are reviewed first. Unfortunately for some pts this is not an option.

    Hope this was the kind of info that you were looking for. Good luck to you.
  4. by   RN1263
    thanks for the reply! i'm sure that they probably do have many medical issues since their geropsych.
    there is a private psych hospital close to me that i will try to get in at when i graduate (no geropsych & the pt.s have to be medically stable), but if they're not hiring, then the only other option really is a geropsych unit of a hospital unless i want to drive far???

    well, thanks again!
  5. by   SeeK
    i am a geriatric psych nurse on a unit in a HOSPITAL, the unit is locked and they HAVE to be medically stable...this unit is not like a nursing home at all (I have worked at a nursing home to). the patient have the same problems as 65 years and younger...bipolar, schizo, personality disorders, suicidal ideation, homicidial ideation, drug and ETOH addictions, the patients can get violent and some or most are very strong....ect...we also have patients who dealing with alzhiemers dementia, this is not the majority as some may think...i have came aross many people who think that gero is all alzhiemers and dementia, like people GROW out of there mental illnesses when they turn 65 or something! they also believe because they are old, that means they are fraile and dont have much strength...i find this not to be the case! lol...they are scared sometimes and flight or fright involves amazing strength, i once saw a 92 year old man throw a dining room table across the room to get the "demons" away!...as far as "how" medically stable- no IV's, no feeding tubes, no trachs, no indwelling catheters, no acute illnessess..... they may have chronic things such as COPD or diabetes (same as the adult unit)...since the patients are older, SOME may be incontinant and have an unsteady gait with need of assistance from a walker or wheelchair....the patients have to go through the ER and get cleared by multiple test labs and sometimes EKG, xrays, ect...our patient have to be stable enough to go to therapy groups through out the day just like on adult units..the main differences are that the therapies and activities are geared more toward the older generation....i hope this helps some....this is a very rewarding job! besides the PDs, and once thier meds are ajusted just right, most elderly pts are very grateful of your care and it is so cute to hear them praying for their nurses at night! lol...also...when patients are not able to be mentally stabilized in about a month, and are a continous danger to themselfs or others, they get sent to the state hospital...sooooo if you work in a state hospital you would get at least some medically stable patients!!! lol
    Last edit by SeeK on Dec 17, '06
  6. by   SeeK
    i wanted to add...the reasons we do not have patients with IVs, trachs, feeding tubes, ect...is for safety...other patients may go into the other patients room and mess with the equipment, suicidal patients may use the equipment on them selves (cords and tubing) or can harm the patient that has the equipment going...i have a patient on my unit right now that def. would...he is delusional, homicidal, paranoid, intrusive...ect...
  7. by   RN1263
    Quote from SeeK
    i wanted to add...the reasons we do not have patients with IVs, trachs, feeding tubes, ect...is for safety...other patients may go into the other patients room and mess with the equipment, suicidal patients may use the equipment on them selves (cords and tubing) or can harm the patient that has the equipment going...i have a patient on my unit right now that def. would...he is delusional, homicidal, paranoid, intrusive...ect...
    You have been VERY helpful! Thank-you for your post!!!:spin:
  8. by   NPAlby
    I think it depends on the floor. I've worked on 4 gero-psych floors (state psych and regular full service hospitals) and it varied to what they would accept as medically stable. One unit absolutely no IVs or feeding tubes, an other unit IVs, rare catheteraizations, some feeding tubes and then one that even did chemo on the unit (had a chemo cert nurse come in and administer the meds but he was ours). Just ask the nurse manager what are the most common med diagnosis, procedures, What are you expected to know/be skilled at (IVs, blood draws). I started on a gerospych unit out of school and found it was a great experience. A lil bit of both worlds but just at the right doeses (for me anyway, some other more experience psych nurses hated how medical the floor could be at times). Good Luck!!
  9. by   oneLoneNurse
    I am going for an interview for geriatric psych on Tuesday. I will ask at that time what kinds of patients they get and are they medically cleared prior to coming to the unit.

    It makes sense that they don't want other patients messing with the medical stuff for a medically compromised patient.

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