The area of clinical practice that is particularly interesting to me is the treatment and management of health issues in the elderly population. In most developed countries, including the United States, there is a general trend towards the aging of the population, which means that the share of older adults is growing due to the higher life expectancy and quality of life. However, despite the development of healthcare and medical technologies that enable to treat many of the conditions occurring in the older age, certain issues are still widespread among the elderly. One such issue that I would like to explore in more detail is obesity. The specific clinical question that I would focus on is “What are the effective ways of managing and treating obesity in older patients?”
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My current knowledge regarding obesity and its treatment is based on the general clinical approach to obesity. For instance, I know that unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are among the main causes of obesity (Wright & Aronne, 2012). Other issues, such as low thyroid function (Pearce, 2012) and disruption of lipid and glucose metabolism may also negatively affect the patients’ weight. The treatment of obesity, on the other hand, is mostly focused on the elimination of issues that led to the problem. For example, low-fat diet and physical exercise are relatively effective in the management of obesity.
Bariatric surgery is also widely used in patients who have moderate to severe obesity and is considered effective in the long term (Gloy et al., 2013). However, most of my current knowledge regarding the management of obesity is not age-specific. To answer the proposed clinical questions, I would need to gather more information about the age-specific factors affecting obesity in older patients. Moreover, there may also be significant differences between treating obesity in the older adults that have gained weight within the past 10-15 years and those who have been overweight since childhood, so it would be essential to explore the different aspects of effective treatment that are different between the two populations.
For instance, the causes of early weight gain may be both hereditary and psychological, which is why psychotherapy and surgical procedures may prove to be crucial components of treatment for those who have been overweight since childhood. On the other hand, steep weight gain over the past 10-15 years may be a result of retirement and lifestyle change, as well as the decline of thyroid function and the decrease in metabolic activity; in this case, the approach would be different.
Approach to Research
To perform the research of the proposed topic efficiently, it is crucial to determine the primary sources of information. For this topic, a combination of sources from government healthcare agencies, such as the CDC, and scholarly journal articles would be preferred. Official reports would provide primary information on the prevalence of obesity and related health issues across the older adult population of the United States, whereas scholarly articles would be the sources of specified information regarding causes, management, and possible restrictions.
There are three main databases that I would research for available scholarly articles. First, PubMed is one of the largest databases of medical research articles that include many accredited journals, such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Lancet, and The New England Journal of Medicine. Secondly, I would use Science Direct, as it allows searching for studies in a variety of disciplines related to the topic, such as psychology, pharmacology, and nutrition.
Another database that would be useful in this case is SAGE Journals, which provides access to a wide variety of scholarly journals, including those focused on nutrition and obesity, such as the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, Food and Nutrition Bulletin, and Nutrition in Clinical Practice. The database also contains sources that could be used for studying the application of bariatric surgery in weight management. To find the relevant resources, I would search these databases using keywords and key phrases, such as “obesity”, “obesity in older adults”, “bariatric surgery in older adults”, “psychological treatment in obesity management”, and more.
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I would search for peer-reviewed articles that were published within the past five years. To extract the relevant information from the articles, I would follow the procedures for a grounded theory approach. The analysis of articles would involve coding, memoing, and theorizing based on the information and concepts extracted from the articles.
The grounded theory approach is effective in transforming information into wisdom, as it ensures a multi-step approach to data analysis. First, the data is broken down into key concepts to extract information from each article. The concepts and key phrases are then used to determine the patterns evident across multiple articles on similar topics. These patterns constitute knowledge. To ensure a meaningful application of knowledge, the grounded theory allows transforming knowledge to theory. The theories resulting from research can be used to propose new methods for managing obesity in older adults. Thus, the grounded theory allows using informatics to gain wisdom on the topic and to apply the new information to promote better practice standards and methods.
Overall, I believe that researching obesity management and treatment in older adults is important, as it could help to raise the quality of life of the elderly. To perform the research effectively, I would need to gather data from reputable sources using online databases. The application of the grounded theory method would help me to analyze the data efficiently and to gain wisdom on the topic, thus allowing me to develop new age-specific methods of obesity management in older adults.
Gloy, V. L., Briel, M., Bhatt, D. L., Kashyap, S. R., Schauer, P. R., Mingrone, G.,… & Nordmann, A. J. (2013). Bariatric surgery versus non-surgical treatment for obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The BMJ, 347(f5934), 1-16. Web.
Pearce, E. N. (2012). Thyroid hormone and obesity. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, 19(5), 408-413. Web.
Wright, S. M., & Aronne, L. J. (2012). Causes of obesity. Abdominal Radiology, 37(5), 730-732. Web.