Dementia and Alzheimer's
Supporting a person as dementia advances
Often people live with their dementia for many years, but given that all types of dementia are progressive the symptoms will eventually get worse, meaning a time may come when a person needs the support of a qualified nurse.
Although many families fear what the future holds for their loved one, being prepared for likely health problems and having an awareness of the different options to support future care needs can help to avoid making decisions in a crisis situation.
If you’ve been providing care and support for your family member, you may find that changes in their dementia symptoms or the development or deterioration of other health conditions may mean you need to consider live-in nursing support in order to prevent avoidable hospital admissions or your family member going into a nursing home.
We can help whether you are looking for a long-term care and support package (more information here), or you just need a break to ensure that your own health doesn’t suffer (for more on our respite services, please visit here.).
When might nursing care be needed?
It is important to bear in mind that every person with dementia is unique and how their type of dementia progresses will also be unique to them. Symptoms of more advanced dementia can include:
- limited mobility, or immobility, which can increase the person’s risk of a fall and/or the development of pressure ulcers
- loss of weight and decreasing desire to eat and drink, resulting in a risk of malnutrition and/or dehydration
- digestive issues, including constipation
- limited verbal communication
- dysphagia (swallowing problems)
- pain (which can be difficult to pinpoint)
- skin problems
- increased vulnerability to infections
- side effects from any changes in medication.
It is also important to remember that many people with dementia have other health conditions prior to their diagnosis (examples might include diabetes, heart or circulatory problems, arthritis or mental health conditions), or develop additional health problems during their dementia (examples include cancer – you can read more about our cancer care here - or having a stroke – you can read more about our stroke care here.). Our nurses are skilled at managing multiple conditions and ensuring that the person can live as well as possible.
Should a hospital admission become unavoidable, we can support you to plan for such an eventuality by completing a ‘This is Me’ document, which will help hospital staff get to know your loved one and their likes and dislikes, hopefully leading to a more positive inpatient experience.
More information about advanced dementia is available here: www.scie.org.uk
How can live-in nursing help?
Moving out of the family home at a time when a person with dementia is particularly vulnerable can result in even greater confusion and upset for the person. With this in mind we understand that it’s important that routine and familiar surroundings are maintained and that change is kept to a minimum; a Consultus live-in nurse helps to achieve this balance.
We even have nurses with an additional qualification in mental health nursing to support a person with more acute symptoms.
- provide all aspects of personal care
- administer medication
- liaise with other healthcare professionals
- understand the different ways in which dementia can manifest itself as it advances
- are familiar with the challenges faced everyday by the person with dementia and by their family and friends and can provide the reassurance you need
- recognise that familiarity and continuity are particularly beneficial to people with dementia and so encourage their clients to adopt a daily routine
- support clients to exercise choice, control and independence wherever possible
- can help clients with limited verbal communication to be understood through interpreting non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, body language, movements and sounds
- understand how to implement a dementia-friendly environment to make the person’s home as safe and supportive as possible for them
- support their clients to continue to enjoy favourite occupations or activities, and try new ones, maximising their abilities
- are aware of alternative therapies that can be helpful to alleviate distressing symptoms, including life story work and reminiscence, music, arts and crafts, gardening, sensory therapy and validation
- provide companionship and social interaction, reducing the risks of loneliness and depression
- can support their clients to make healthy lifestyle choices through diet and exercise, and provide the encouragement to eat and drink that is sometimes needed
- ensure that each client, irrespective of their condition, feels valued, respected and safe, and is able to help them make the most of their lives
- provide end of life care to ensure your loved one can remain in their own home. More information here.
Each client has a risk assessment and bespoke nursing care plan, updated as needs change. Consultus nurses ensure that there is as little disruption to the client’s sense of place and wellbeing as possible.
Find out how Consultus Nurses can create a safe, long-term solution to your family’s dementia care and support needs. Call our team on 01732 770 403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.