Around 15% of the American population is over the age of 65, and groups over 85 years of age are one of the most rapidly growing demographics in our communities. In this episode, AONN+ FFL Director of Certification Lisa Hartman is joined by Sarah H. Kagan, PhD, RN, AOCN, APRN-BC, FAAN, FGSA, and Lora Rhodes, MSW, LSW to discuss the challenges older patient populations face and ageism in healthcare.
A majority of patients with cancer are over the age of 65. Because chronological age does not coincide with cognitive and physical function, there is an emphasis on personalized care when treating older patient populations with cancer. Here are the top 3 takeaways from this episode:
- Ambivalent ageism suggests that older populations are both incapable and a burden. In reality, older people contribute vast amounts to national and regional economies. Ageism is prevalent in healthcare and navigators should work together with their teams to detect ageism in order to provide the best care possible.
- We are just now beginning to understand the needs of older patients in cancer care. Until recently, many patients were excluded from clinical trials because of their age, yet most of the treatments being tested are given to older adults.
- When considering how to provide age-friendly care, oncology nurse and patient navigators should emphasize personalized care, highlighting the goals of the individual patients. We should ask ourselves what are the potential barriers of these patients and what interventions and resources can we put into place to relieve these barriers?
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the disparities of older patient populations. As the world adopted virtual care, many patients were left in a digital divide. Moving forward, we need to recognize this divide and consider it in our navigation assessments.
To learn more about the Heart and Soul of Oncology Navigation podcast and to view our series schedule,
please visit our podcasts page.
Stay tuned for the next episode: Partner with Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 7:00 PM ET
Thank you to our sponsor, Genentech, for making this podcast episode possible.
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
- Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing – The “Try This” series is especially useful
- The Cancer and Aging Research Group
- Age-Friendly Health Systems
- Information on Aging from WHO
- Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA)