Hello Caring for You Members,
This month we are discussing “Dementia” for our education blog.
Happy Reading J
INTRODUCTION TO DEMENTIA AND “DEMENTIA DYNAMICS TOOLKIT”.
Dementia is a general term which is used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline which interfere with a person’s ability to attend to daily activities.
Dementia is caused by brain cell death and also neurodegenerative diseases.
The most common age for occurrence is >65 years, however it is not an age specific disease.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia which accounts for 60 – 80% of cases. There is no cure, however treatment for symptoms are available and research continues to grow within this field.
Depending on the part of the brain which is affected, symptoms do vary within individuals. Impairments to memory, communication and thinking are the main symptoms.
Examples of cognitive decline symptoms could include an individual when they:
- Ask the same question repeatedly
- Have difficulty doing daily tasks like making a cup of tea and then forget to drink it
- Disorientated to time, place and/or person
- Forget words
- Experience difficulty with abstract thinking,
- Misplace items
- Display signs of personality changes (e.g. become fearful, irritable and suspicious)
By adopting the right practice and strategies for care, we as healthcare professionals can help support and assist people throughout the course of the disease.
This can be achieved by carers viewing the individual as a person, not just viewing the symptoms of the disease.
To help this process the “Dementia Dynamics Toolkit” was developed and throughout 2014/2015 has been in the process of being distributed and implemented within all residential aged care facilities.
This toolkit educates healthcare professionals on how to respond to behaviours of concern (aka “Responsive Behaviours”).
This new model focuses on “a person centred approach.”
Modern dementia care firstly revolves around the concept of people acknowledging that people with dementia are people with unique needs who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
The “person centred approach” considers past experiences, relationships with family and friends, interactions with staff members and the physical and social environment of a residential care facility all directly having a powerful impact on how an individual experiences the effects of dementia and therefore responds.
The model reinforces the importance of looking at the personality, life story, physical health, social preferences and the physical environment of the person with dementia and how this impacts their behaviours.
The “Dementia Dynamic Toolkit” highlights that the person and their well-being is more important than the task.
An individual’s behaviour is a form of communication. Behaviours can be demonstrated when people with dementia are unable to express their emotions with words. Invisible triggers like pain, infection, hunger, thirst, and emotions can trigger responsive behaviours.
Getting to know the individual can help explain these behaviours and crucial to best practice.
Reducing responsive behaviour will decrease stress and improve quality of life for the person with dementia. This will also make the social environment less stressful for other residents. Workplace stress levels and the workload for carers will also benefit from the incorporation of this tool.
Caring for You will be delivering education sessions in the coming months on the “Dementia Dynamics Toolkit.”
If you have an education topic you would like posted, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Caring for You Nursing Agency