Caring for Dementia Patients Long Term Care
Caring for Dementia Patients Rodrick Williams English 122 Professor Susan Turner – Colon Caring for Dementia Patient It can be very difficult caring for a patient with dementia. Most caregivers are unaware of the problems, they must face. A family member attempting to care for a loved one without training will eventually turn to a Nursing Home that has experienced staff in the care of dementia patients. Although many families feel a sense of guilt having someone else care for a loved one, it is best for all concerned.
Dementia patients can be a handful for an experienced caregiver as well as those with no training. These are some of the question that should be ask when a loved is diagnosis with dementia. Why is dementia so misunderstood, what are the causes, what are the different stages of the dementia, what are the statistics, and how is it diagnosis? Dementia defined as the loss of intellectual functions such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning of sufficient severity to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself, but a group of symptoms.
Many ementias are treatable and reversible. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of untreatable, irreversible dementia A German doctor named Alois Alzheimer first discovered Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in 1906. It is a disorder of the brain, causing damage to brain tissue over a period. The disease can linger from two to twenty-five years before death results (Florida Health Care Association 2005). Some of the conditions that mimic Alzheimer’s are reversible dementia, irreversible dementia, depression, and relocation stress.
Most common reactions are decline in health, nability to care for oneself, disorientation, and confusion. Treatable causes of dementia are prescription drug interactions, alcohol use, depression, delirium, dehydration, malnutrition, infections, and vision and hearing problems (Bourgeois, Irvine 20000). Communication is critical when approaching dementia patients. The patient loses the understanding of the spoken language and depends on body language for their source of understanding. It can be very frustrating for a dementia patient trying to express him or herself.
The simple things are hard to get across. To some this ehavior would be considered upsetting but it is hard for them to communicate effectively. The best course of action would be to stay calm, consider if the patient is patients as bad behavior. A dementia behavior is considered as problem behavior which is composed of agitation, aggression, and wandering. Agitation is the leading problem behavior, which may be onset by pain, hunger, fear, boredom delirium, medication side effect, or environment. Diagnosis is the first step in treating agitation (1997).
A definite diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is still only possible during autopsy hen the hallmark plaques and tangles can be detected. However, with techniques now available, physicians’ and patients can count on 85 to 90 percent accuracy, according to studies in which clinical diagnosis was later confirmed by autopsy (1984). “The most effective way to diagnose AD is now through Memory Disorder Clinics, (MDC), such as the ones funded by the State of Florida. ” The clinic evaluation is a team approach to diagnosis of memory impairment.
Whether the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease, Multi – Infarct dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or any other form f dementia, the Memory Disorder Clinic professionals will assist the patient and family with services and resources for their situation. Current research focuses on many different aspects of dementia, including, but not limited to prevention, slowing progression, treatment of symptoms and a cure. This research hopes to improve the lives of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Research may include studies of genetic factors, neurotransmitters, inflammation, cell death, and the associated neurofibrillary tangles and plaques in AD. Some other researchers are trying to determine the possible roles of cholesterol metabolism, oxidative stress (chemical reactions that can damage proteins, DNA, and lipids inside cells), estrogen, vitamin E, and microglia in the development of AD. Scientists also are investigating the role of aging – related proteins (Florida Health Care Association 2005).
Lifestyle changes to help prevent AD, according to The Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation International include four pillars of building a better memory’; diet and vitamins, stress management, exercise and pharmaceutical drugs. Diet and vitamins: the brain requires nutrition, blood flow and energy that comes from a diet that is moderate in calories, high in good fats and clean proteins. Stress management: reducing depression and improving your ability to deal with stressful situations.
Exercise: mental and physical exercise is essential for brain health. Effective workouts include brisk walking, swimming, and Tai chi mental exercise such as visiting museums, crossword puzzles, reading, taking educational classes, and socializing with friend’s arte all excellent ways to keep your brain in shape. Pharmaceutical drugs: medications such as Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl, and Namenda, taken with the supervision of a physician, can play an important role in delaying the progression of mild memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.
Natural hormone replacement therapy still considered by leaders in the field of integrative medicine to be useful for many people (Lacy, Armstrong, Goodman 2003). that there are three stages of Alzheimer’s and their characteristics. The early stages include memory loss, disorientation, mild confusion, and personality changes. Middle tages: inability to perform skilled movements, social withdrawal, fewer inhibitions, restlessness, sleep disturbance, and hallucinations.
The late stages: little memory, difficulty communicating, no recognition of loved ones, forgetting how to eat, loss of bladder/bowel control, and upset sleep cycle. Encourage families to Join support groups, give educational handouts, educational seminars or workshops, memory disorder clinics, memory books, care plan meetings, activities, dining, social services, family support network, and hospice care (McGough 2005). By involving family embers there is less chance of emotional, physical, social, financial or environment stress.
Stress can led to accusations about care, emotional outbursts, frequent visits throughout the day or verbal and physical hostility. Safety is a major concern that should include monitoring devices, night- lights, well- lit hallways, combination key locks, labeling room doors of residents with pictures of residents, reduce noise levels, eliminating clutter, and keeping sharp objects out of reach. Anything that poses a threat to the safety of the residents must be removed or kept in a safe place. It takes a strong person to care for persons diagnosed or have symptoms of dementia.
As the symptoms progress as will the behavior problems. References Bourgeois, M. and Irvine, Blair, PH. D. Strategies of Dementia, ORCAS, Inc. 2000 Florida Health Care Association, 2005 University of Alabama Dementia and Training Program, The Deta Brain Series, 1997 National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Disease and Related Disorders Association guidelines, 1984 Lacy C, Armstrong L, Goldman M, Drug Information Handbook, Lexi-Comp, Hudson, Ohio 1 1 th ed. 2003