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Management of Covid-19



Covid 19 is a respiratory disease traced back to Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has been responsible for millions of infections worldwide and caused 1.5 million deaths, and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization(Yuki, Fujiogi&Koutsogiannaki2020). The diseases are caused by a virus known as SARS – Cov – 2 and are spread from person to person through close contact. Modes of transmission include respiratory droplets and airborne transmission. Considering their weak immune system, covid 19 has caused complications among the elderly, which include heart problems, lung damage, and difficulties in breathing, blood clots, and kidney injuries. The main symptoms of Covid 19 include loss of smell, sore throat, and coughs. Currently, there is no cure or vaccination that has been approved. The treatment of the disease mainly focuses on the management of symptoms. This paper aims at determining how social economic status and physical environment are main determinants of Covid 19, its epidemiological triad and role of nurse practitioners in management of Covid 19.

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The main determinant of Covid 19 among the elderly includes socioeconomic status. According to Health People 2020, older adults with lower socioeconomic status have an increased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases(Koh, Piotrowski,  Kumanyika& Fielding 2011). These diseases make older adults to be considered high-risk patients for Covid 19. The elderly with low economic status are also prone to using public transport, carpools, and other public amenities. Considering Covid 19 is an airborne disease, their exposure to public places increases their risk of being infected with the disease. Socioeconomic status also plays a huge role in the quality of health care the elderly can access. Quality of health care determines the Covid 19 treatment and thus the health outcomes. It is thus clear that socioeconomic status plays a huge role in Covid 19statusa among the elderly.

Other social determinants of health that are related to Covid 19 infections include the physical environment. Older adults who are homeless have a greater risk of being infected with the diseases. This is because of living in crowded places and having limited access to covid testing centers. Depending on the physical environment, the older adults may experience high smoking exposure, which increases their risk of complications when infected with Covid 19. As a social determinant, the physical environment determines the exposure of elderly patients to Covid 19 and the resulting health complication. 

Epidemiological Triad

The epidemiological triad enables understanding the Covid 19 disease's spread through three components the agent, environment, and host. The agent of Covid 19 is an acute respiratory coronavirus referred to as SARS- Cov -2(Dangi& George 2020). The virus is a new strain and causes a severe respiratory problem. On the other hand, an agent is a person who is not affected but susceptible depending on their age and those suffering from chronic conditions. The elderly have a higher risk of being infected when exposed to the virus. The agent host interrupting factor is anything that could decrease the host's susceptibility and diminishes the virus from attacking the host. This includes vaccines and antiviral treatments, which are still being developed. On the other hand, the environment refers to the external factors that increase opportunities for exposure to the virus. This could be through surfaces containing the virus or infected respiratory droplets. Environment host interrupting factors include social distancing and hand washing, while agent – environment interrupting factors include self-quarantining when infected, placing travel restrictions, wearing masks, and disinfecting surfaces. Understanding the epidemiological triad helps to find methods to minimize interactions between the agent, host, and environment and thus reduce the spread of Covid 19. 

Role of nurse practitioners

According to the AANP, nurse practitioners have played a significant role in managing covid 19 by taking part in the testing, diagnosing, and treating elderly covid 19 patients(Davies,  Klepac, Liu, Prem, Jit,  &Eggo 2020). Nurse practitioners are tasked with the surveillance of elderly patients through assessment, making an order and interpretations of the tests, diagnosis, and treatment of the patients, which includes giving medications. Nurse practitioners are found in hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and nursing homes. Nurse practitioners' primary interventions include educating the elderly on risks relating to Covid 19, solving problems, and communicating with patients. In secondary prevention, nurse practitioners are decision-makers, provide care to covid – 19 elderly patients and care managers. In tertiary prevention, nurse practitioners are change agents and advocate for Covid -19 elderly patients. 

In conclusion, it is clear that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on older adults' daily routine and overall health. The older population is mostly infected with chronic diseases, which increases their risk of contracting Covid 19 and increases the risk of complications and even death. The epidemiological triad can be useful to identify methods of managing infectious diseases. It is also clear that nurse practitioners play a major role in managing Covid 19 through the use of primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions. Appropriate models should thus be put in place using evidence-based practices to support nurse practitioners in managing Covid 19 and improving outcomes among elderly patients.

References

  • Davies, N. G., Klepac, P., Liu, Y., Prem, K., Jit, M., &Eggo, R. M. (2020).Age-dependent effects in the transmission and control of COVID-19 epidemics. Nature medicine26(8), 1205-1211.
  • Dangi, R. R., & George, M. (2020).A Review on Theories and Models of Disease Causation for COVID-19. Available at SSRN 3584080.
  • Koh, H. K., Piotrowski, J. J., Kumanyika, S., & Fielding, J. E. (2011). Healthy people: a 2020 vision for the social determinants approach. Health Education & Behavior38(6), 551-557.
  • Yuki, K., Fujiogi, M., &Koutsogiannaki, S. (2020). COVID-19 pathophysiology: A review. Clinical immunology, 108427.