Steps To Providing Optimal Care In Assisted Living: Residents With Dementia

1158 words - 5 pages

I. Introduction

I had only heard the word dementia a handful of times in the years leading up to my employment at Parkhaven Assisted Living. Like most people, I pictured dementia in the form of mismatched shoes and memory loss. It took just one eight-hour shift to open my eyes to the stark reality that dementia is more than just a nuisance; dementia is crippling, rendering those who are affected by it nearly helpless. Dementia is a progressive disease in which the brain loses much of its cognitive, emotional and mental abilities, such as an individual’s ability to process thoughts and communicate.

It’s important to consider that dementia is a general word for a multitude of specific ...view middle of the document...

The expected increase in dementia rates as well as the need for specialized care cause assisted living facilities to be more important now than ever before. It is vital for caregivers within assisted living facilities to understand which methods of treatment are the most effective and beneficial as well as which methods to avoid altogether. A caregiver’s knowledge is a defining factor in the quality of care that is provided, as an educated nurse ensures more qualified care just as a lack of education ensures the opposite. What alternative methods and therapies are necessary in providing optimal care for dementia-stricken residents within assisted living facilities?

II. Lit Review

Ingalill R. Hallberg et al and her “mapping system” compare and contrast dementia care throughout eight respective European countries. Hallberg’s research is grouped among four tables that display which countries gave which type of care and at what stage of life, as well as how many people received care in general. This study was done in an effort to gauge how wide the knowledge gap is in regards to the structure and availability of care for people with dementia. Hallberg’s research is vital because it sheds light on the disparity among levels of dementia care; some countries, like Estonia, lack even the simplest of pre-dementia screenings and others, like the United Kingdom, have specialized dementia care units throughout nursing homes across the country (Hallberg).

Although dementia care isn’t universally equal, it is considerably better than it was even 25 years ago. Because of the wandering behaviors and sometimes aggressive tendencies of residents with dementia, as well as the possibility of falls, many residents were subject to physical restraints. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 87) established a resident’s right to be free from restraints when used for the purpose of discipline and preventive measures, as well as specified that uncooperativeness, restlessness, and wandering are not grounds to use restraints (ATrain Education). Since the years following the Omnibus Act, alternative therapies have widely been pursued in an effort to provide better care to people with dementia.

It is important to realize that caring for an individual that suffers from advanced dementia is as close to a 24 hour a day job as there is. These individuals need assistance in almost every aspect of their life; from getting dressed in the morning to taking a shower before bed. The effects of being a family caregiver are generally...

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