Dementia Care Specialists Recognize The Different Types Of Cognitive Decline And How To Provide Personalized Care For Each
Pegasus Home Health Care is recognized throughout the healthcare community for quality and service. Our credo is based on the CASTLE principles of Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love, and Effectiveness. These principles inform how we treat our patients, our clients, and one another.
Pegasus in-home nurses in Newhall and elsewhere use their skills to assist a variety of patients. Some individuals receive care due to cognitive impairment. Career home health care nurses explain exactly what exactly a dementia care specialist is.
A dementia care specialist is familiar with the different types of dementia. They know that while all dementia leads to cognitive loss, they understand that the symptoms vary among types. Different symptoms require customized care.
Their training enables them to tailor their care to meet individual needs. Everything they do is patient-centered to give each the best possible quality of life. Dementia care specialists meet their patient’s medical needs while helping them cope with the emotional impact of the disease.
Dementia Results When Nerve Cells Die
Dementia is an umbrella term that describes the progressive loss of “thinking, remembering, and reasoning” ability. Although one or more types of dementia affect many older adults, it is not a part of normal aging. As the disease progresses, individuals become increasingly in need of assistance.
Nerve cells called neurons “transmit information throughout the body.” Neurons connect via electrical signals and continually make new connections. However, neurons don’t reproduce, and when one dies, it generally is not replaced, and connections cease.
Every individual experiences the loss of neurons throughout their life. The greater the loss, the fewer connections the person has. Dementia results when neurons can no longer transmit knowledge from one part of the body to another.
Neurons are damaged in several ways. These include:
- The accumulation of other products in the brain, such as the proteins that leads to Alzheimer’s.
- Other diseases, such as Parkinson’s.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), either from accidents or repeated blows to the head.
Chronic infections or severe malnutrition can also cause the death of nerve cells.
Alzheimer’s Is Only One Type Of Dementia
Dementia care specialists design their care plan around the type and degree of impairment. The main types are:
- Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia. It’s characterized by memory loss. As the disease progresses, individuals can become disoriented, neglect their hygiene, and their personality changes. Many also experience speaking and walking difficulties.
- Vascular dementia: The second most common type. Individuals are often confused, unable to concentrate, experience impaired vision, and may hallucinate.
- Lewy body dementia: Individuals experience memory loss, sleep disorders, and confusion. They may also feel weak, have tremors, and have difficulty walking.
- Frontotemporal dementia: Individuals exhibit compulsive behavior, and many lose their inhibitions. Speech is often affected. Memory loss is a late symptom.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD): It’s rare and escalates quickly. Individuals experience memory loss, confusion, twitching, and stiffness. Most don’t survive beyond a year.
- Mixed dementia: It occurs when an individual has more than one kind of dementia, usually Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. The symptoms vary initially and in progression.
Medical science has yet to discover a cure for dementia. However, treatment can ease some symptoms, at least temporarily. Sometimes, the progression can be slowed.
Some dementia conditions are reversible if diagnosed and the underlying cause treated early. These include:
- Abnormalities in metabolism or endocrine function
- Autoimmune diseases
- Brain tumors
- Chronic alcoholism
- Medication side effects
- Normal-pressure hydrocephalus
- Subdural hematomas
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
Rather than true dementia in the early stages, these conditions mimic dementia symptoms. However, left untreated, they potentially cause permanent damage to nerve cells. That can result in non-reversible cognitive impairment.
Dementia Care Specialists Design Personalized Care Plans
Dementia care specialists are familiar with the symptoms of all types of dementia and dementia mimics. They know the progression of each and how to assist their patients at each level. They have the skills needed to communicate effectively at each stage of cognitive decline.
Personalized care plans may include assistance from occupational, physical, and speech therapists. Neurologists and other specialists may recommend treatments. Dietitians help patients who need nutrition assistance.
Educating family caregivers about what to expect is part of specialty dementia care. For example, teaching them how to manage sundowning is essential for patient safety. In-home nurses can provide respite care for overwhelmed family members.
Training Is Available
The Alzheimer’s Association maintains a list of approved training resources for dementia care specialists. Dementia Care Professionals of America also offers approved training. The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners provides resources, including seminars, to members.
Join The Pegasus Team
Pegasus in-home nurses in Newhall and our other locations network with others to help meet patient needs. When needed, they coordinate assistance with dementia care specialists. Career home health care nurses know it takes a team to meet the needs of cognitively impaired individuals.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care Organization. As an equal-opportunity employer, diversity, equity, and inclusivity are part of our hiring philosophy. If you are a licensed professional, join us in providing superior healthcare.