1. Alexander, Mary BS, CRNI

Article Content


Figure. Mary Alexand... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure.

In this issue, INS is pleased to present a special look at infusion care specific to the elderly population. The elderly are some of the most numerous-and most vulnerable-patients. In fact, they make up a significant portion of healthcare consumers. According to a recent study by Solucient, an Evanston, Ill-based firm, the nation's hospitals will admit 9.8 million seniors in the next 25 years-an increase of 78% ( For this reason, it is important that infusion professionals have knowledge specific to the elderly population so positive outcomes can be achieved.


The articles we offer in this issue are based on a special INS one-day educational program in San Antonio, Texas on February 2, 2003, entitled "Home Infusion Care and the Elderly Patient," which was held in conjunction with the National Home Infusion Association's Annual Meeting. The goal of the program was to educate infusion professionals on how to accurately assess and care for the older adult, because care of this population requires understanding of the aging process and the types of complications that may arise with the older adult. The elderly patient can present unique challenges in assessment and monitoring due to the complexities of the aging process, and these patients may present with multiple conditions such as acute or chronic cognitive deficits and physiological limitations. The articles in this focus issue address these challenges and provide insightful options for management of the elder patient.


As with all patients, the goal of infusion therapy is the successful completion of therapy while minimizing the risk of complications and offering timely interventions when complications do arise. Because the elderly often receive infusion care in alternate settings, including homecare and long-term care facilities, this has increased the need for skilled infusion professionals beyond the hospital setting. That skill includes the ability to educate the patient about his or her treatment and ensure the support and participation of designated primary care providers. Nurses who are knowledgeable about these facets of the elderly population are able to offer the best, most cost-efficient care.


This special focus issue is a valuable and tangible recap of some of the educational sessions from the one-day meeting in San Antonio, but it is also an educational tool. If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can still earn recertification units toward your CRNI credential by completing the test offered at the back of this issue. We hope the information in these articles will serve as a guide in your care of the elderly patient.