Dementia Care Specialists Help Caregivers With Education, Support, And Tips To Improve The Well-Being And Quality Of Life Of Their Patients
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Calabasas and elsewhere provide general and specialized care to their clients. They often assist cognitively impaired patients. Career home health care nurses know there is much to learn from dementia care specialists.
Millions of Americans have one or more kinds of dementia. That number is expected to increase as the population ages. Dementia care specialists enable many of these individuals to live at home.
Certification As A Dementia Care Specialist
Dementia care specialists are healthcare professionals who have obtained additional training. They may be certified by one or more organizations.
The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners is one source of training. Dementia Care Professionals of America, a division of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, is another source. The Crisis Prevention Institute trains dementia care instructors.
These and similar organizations offer different levels of training and certifications. However, their trainees have in common the desire to enhance the well-being of dementia patients. They strive to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.
What Does A Dementia Care Specialist Do?
A dementia care specialist supports caregivers. Their assistance includes:
- Care coordination and family-oriented care plans
- Cognition screening
- Connecting families to community resources
- Disease education
- Managing caregiver needs and reducing their stress
- Strategies for managing behavioral issues
They understand the symptoms and progression of the various kinds of dementia.
Specialists have numerous tools at their disposal for evaluating and assessing patient needs. Many of these can be adapted for your use as a home healthcare nurse.
Patients may have one or more family members caring for them, often informally. Some may use a word other than caregiver to describe themselves. Respect their choice of terminology and culture.
Ask enough questions to determine who the primary caregiver is. That’s usually the decision-maker. Ensure that documentation is in place that allows the caregiver to communicate with you without violating privacy laws.
Discuss with caregivers the extent of the services they’re providing. As a nurse, your services meet medical needs, such as dressing wounds or administering injections. You may need to enlist the aid of your Pegasus team members to assist family caregivers meet all the patient’s requirements.
Although dementia care focuses on the patient, you also evaluate how the caregiver copes. If their physical or mental health is compromised, they won’t be able to care for their loved one adequately. You can arrange for respite care or counseling if necessary.
Dementia care specialists must, unfortunately, monitor patients for abuse. Sometimes families or friends are abusive, either by nature or because they’re overwhelmed. Abuse can take several forms, including:
- Confining or restraining the individual
- Depriving the person of food, medicine, or other essential items
- Inappropriate sexual activity
- Misusing their financial resources
- Physically injuring them
- Verbally assaulting them
- Willful neglect, especially of hygiene
You’ll need to rely on your observational skills and professional knowledge to discern abuse. Your patient may not recognize abuse or have the ability to report it. They may feel that they “deserve” mistreatment or be afraid of their abuser.
Using IDEA! Strategy To Manage Patient Behavior
An essential tool dementia care specialists have is IDEA! Strategy. Dementia patients often exhibit behaviors that create stress or frustration for their caregivers. You can use it to help family caregivers manage undesirable behavior.
It starts with IDentifying the behavior. Why is it a problem? Under what circumstances does it occur?
Then Explore the causes. Is their loved one trying to communicate a need? Is something unusual happening?
Part of exploring includes ascertaining the meaning of the behavior. The individual may feel confused, nervous, or afraid. Do they dislike what someone is doing?
The third step is Adjust. Emphasize to the family caregiver that they, not their loved one, will need to change. When possible, eliminate the cause of the behavior.
Remind the caregiver to respect their loved one’s feelings. It may be possible to stop behaviors by distracting the individual. Sometimes, unless there’s a safety issue, families may have to live with annoying behavior.
Dementia Care Specialists Assist With End-Of-Life Care
Some dementia patients may be physically able even as their cognitive abilities decline. As a nurse, you know that the disease is progressive and terminal. Dementia care specialists are an invaluable resource for end-of-life care as you assist families navigating their loved one’s final days.
It’s best if advance directives are prepared before the individual becomes impaired. But that doesn’t always happen. Caregivers frequently have to make health and financial decisions as best as they can.
Dementia care specialist assistance includes helping families and patients access appropriate legal and financial assistance. They offer aid in obtaining any required documentation. Additionally, they help ensure appropriate individuals are made aware of the contents and that the documents are correctly filed.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our in-home caregivers in Calabasas and our other locations are dedicated to helping individuals live safely in their home. Our career home health care nurses customize their services to fit each patient’s requirements.