The nursing process is perhaps one of the most misunderstood nursing theories, and yet one of the most effective as well as practical. It takes time for students and new nurses to understand this process, and many fight it every step of the way, until one day a light bulb begins to burn brightly.
When performing the assessment part of the nursing process for a geriatric patient it is appropriate that the nurse is purposefully respectful. Many times elderly patients are not treated with respect, are dismissed, ignored or assumed to not be in control of their mental faculties. Addressing the client as Mr. or Mrs., until you establish or gain permission to address them differently, is the first step in establishing rapport that is so important in order to establish a trusting professional relationship. Many times an elderly client is able to respond to some questions but not others. One should not assume that because there is a deficit one presentation of an elderly individual that all areas are not functioning. Even the client residing on a specialty dementia unit, often is able to convey during an interview that they feel safe, they are treated with dignity and have choices when they are unable to remember the date, name of their home or the name of the town in which they live.