Children and adults undergo different physical and developmental changes. Such changes affect their interactions with health care services and care providers. One of the initial stages, when a patient visits a hospital or clinic, is to undergo a physical assessment to collect subjective and objective data that informs a treatment schedule. Although physical assessment might have some similarities across the age span, the process differs between children and adults because of differences in their development.
Physical assessment is similar in all patient populations because nurses collect information to inform the treatment process. They have a set of questions depending on the various aspects of the patient, including the history and the medical condition. However, the source of the data differs between adult and pediatric patients (Urden, Stacy, & Lough, 2017). Among children, the parent or caregiver provides the information. Although some older children and adolescents can provide the data, parents and caregivers play a critical role during the physical assessment. Besides, nurses gather more information through observation before asking essential questions to the parent or caregiver. Hence, they should avoid pushing children to answer questions, especially if they are uncomfortable. The person conducting the assessment should stay at the same level by placing the child on the adult’s lap or examination table. They can use distraction to make the child comfortable and create the necessary rapport.
Conversely, care providers use physical observation and questioning to collect data from adult patients. Therefore, the questions directed to the adult patient, parent, and caregiver may differ, depending on the age and condition of an individual. Nurses collect essential data about the medical history of a patient during the physical examination. They gather information through the observation of speech, habits, gestures, gait, and features’ manipulation. They interact closely with the patient to collect objective data. Nurses commonly use instruction when collecting patient history and information regarding the medical condition of an adult patient (McPherson & Pincus, 2017). Since such patients answer questions on their own, they can be directed on how to respond to questions to offer relevant information during the assessment.
Communication is a critical process during physical assessment. Nurses might ask questions warranting explanations to collect adequate data to inform the diagnosis and treatment. Communication through instruction allows nurses and other care providers to design individualized nursing care (Kourkouta & Papathanasiou, 2014). They can use various strategies to encourage engagement with adult patients. The most commonly used approach is interviewing, which differs from social interactions because it is a goal-oriented process. Nurses use such a method to collect specific information from the patient, to understand the medical condition and history, and to implement an appropriate intervention (Rogers & Bender, 2018). Goal-oriented communication allows nurses to converse with adults to understand the problem and develop a practical approach to the issue.
Nurses and other health care providers gather relevant objective data from patients to inform their treatment procedure for both children and adult patients. They communicate with patients, parents, or caregivers to receive the necessary information. However, they differ in the source of information because while adults offer their responses to questions, children are assisted by parents or caregivers to provide data. Communication and interactions with adult patients are critical approaches to understand the patient history and any prevailing condition. Overall, nurses can use interviewing, among other strategies to gather the necessary data, which would inform a treatment schedule.