For a person with dementia a hospital stay is often confusing and frightening. Not knowing where you are, nothing familiar to hold on, lost & alone.
For the nurse, a patient with dementia means extra workload in a schedule that is already packed.
What to do and where to find the time?
25% of the hospitals beds are occupied by patients with dementia, who stay longer than usual in hospital and from which the majority leave the hospital mentally worse than when they arrived.
Result; a not happy family, a frustrated nurse, a worried management thinking about the extra costs and………… a distressed person with dementia.
Can we change this? Without creating another set of rules & guidelines and without spending money which there is often tight.
There is a way; when the nursing and the family work together and the management support this, we can fix dementia care in hospital.
This means; that the management must support and back up the staff herewith. Even when rules must be bend or an out of the box solution need to be approved.
Extra benefit of fixing dementia care; it reduce the nursing workload and it create patient & family engagement. How to realize this? Well let’s start with step 1.
Ask the family for help; explain to them that only with their help you can create a care where their family member with dementia experience lesser confusion and lesser stress, which reduces the chance of mentally decline through the hospital stay.
Make the family feel welcome, take them serious – value them – they are worth gold. Make them extended team members, they know more about the care for their family member then you do.
Use the 3 tools of Ignar’s dementia Guide.
Tool 1 – You
e self are the most powerful dementia care tool there is, because how much a person with dementia cooperates depends mostly of us. So knowing how to use yourself as a care tool makes your daily work easier.
Tool 2 – Music
Personal favorite music create feelings of Home & Safety which bring rest in the chaotic brain with dementia. Result; lesser unrest and lesser problem behavior. When people with dementia hear music during care operations, they feel intuitively what their nurse wants or intends to achieve, so care operations runs easier.
Tool 3 – surrounding
This a powerful tool but difficult to realise in a hospital.
The family can set photos on the night table or hang them in front of the bed. Yes in front of the bed not above the bed as the person in bed can’t see these .
Maybe the family could take little things to the hospital which are familiar for the person with dementia. Or maybe there are things the person likes to hold in his hands or maybe his own blanket from home.
A person who wanders in the dementia fog needs handholds in his surrounding which he recognize, they giving him rest and a peach of mind.
What can the family do?
– Being in the recovery after the operation
– Helping with breakfast, lunch, diner, personal care
– Staying for the night – make this possible – help with this
– Providing music with headphone or music pillow music pillow
– see tool 2
– Providing photos and little things to hold – see tool 3
– Physical activities, walking through the corridors or mirroring on music
How to realize this ?
– Ask the family for help & Team up with the family
– Keep in mind that the empathic feelings become more with dementia
– So people with dementia feel your hurry and the hectic of the hospital
– Approach the person with respect
– See the person not his illness
– Understand the persons fear, confusion, mistakes, questions and despair
– Use music, care actions runs easier & it lessen unrest and problem behaviour
Share the “Team-up flyer” Family handout with the family
– It explains why working together with the nursing is so important
– It shows the family what they can do and how they can help
Above the bed of the patient with dementia. Everybody who comes by the bed sees, this is a patient who wanders in the dementia fog, I must speak and do things Calmly & Quieter.
Nursing dementia approach
1- Centering before entering
Why is this necessary? because a person with dementia becomes more sensitive for the inner feelings of other people. So a patient with dementia can feel for example your workload and stress, which could cause unrest and fear by the patient with dementia.
With centering you throw away the hospital hectic and enters the room of the patient with dementia with emotions in balance.
How to center: Takes a deep breath through your nose to your stomach, breathes out through your mouth, do this three times. Naomi Feil shows you how in this great Tedtalk
2 – Smile
Enter the room with a smile from the heart, see and meet a person. Doing this you will breakthrough the dementia fog and reach the person there. Maybe the person cannot response anymore, but you made contact with that person through the dementia fog.
3 – Touch
If you don’t know where you are and you feel frighten, you be very happy if someone take you by the hand. Touching & Holding hands is becoming a lighthouse for that person in his dementia fog, you bring comfort and make contact.
This is how we can fix Dementia Care in hospital
Working together and helping each other, because dementia care you can’t do it alone
So stand up
Dare to ask
and work together
Join Ignar’s dementia brigade and make dementia care fabulous in every hospital
Your Fab (helper) Ambassador Ignar