Dementia Case Studies

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Dementia Overview Dementia is a term used to define a category of brain diseases that involve a long-term, generally fatal and gradual decrease in a person’s ability to think and function in their daily life, with memory loss being a common symptom (Alzheimer’s Assoication, 2014). The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up around 60% of cases, with vascular dementia (25%) and Lewy body dementia (15%) also being prominent causes of symptoms (Alzheimer’s Association, 2014). On a worldwide scale, the number of cases of dementia is around 37 million (Alzheimer’s Association, 2014). Dementia is primarily a disease of old age, with various forms of the disease affecting 5% of the over 65 population and estimates
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A nurse can encourage a patient in the earlier stages of dementia to attend as many social events as possible, as long as this does not induce stress (Howe, 2008). Patients with dementia also lose specific bits of cognitive functioning during this stage whilst retaining other areas, so attending social events and keeping in contact with friends and family can help a nurse to identify problem areas (Howe, 2008). Nurses can also help the dementia patient to utilize their islands of strength, a term used to describe areas of cognitive function that remain in-tact which the brain can use to make up for losses in other areas (Gräske et al., 2012). Overall, the best intervention at this stage for the nurse is to encourage the patient to maintain as much normality as possible whilst encouraging friends and family to keep note of areas of difficulty. This can be useful information for describing later interventions when the disease has become more …show more content…
Many of these individuals have to live in care homes and institutions that are catered for their needs. It has been noted that staff that took the care to get to know the patient and to socially interact with them had patients who were more responsive and less aggressive than non-social nurses (Howe, 2008). In this scenario, the main intervention here is to encourage social interaction to ensure that the psychological symptoms of Alzheimer’s are minimized. This is beneficial to both the patient and any caregivers involved (Verbeek et al., 2012). Getting to know the patients has also been shown to help nurses better identify problems, such as dyspnea, in patients that cannot adequately communicate. Again, this simple intervention is an approach that can improve all aspects of a dementia patient’s life when in an

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