If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, then you know how difficult it can be to care for them. Perhaps that is why you are either considering moving them into a nursing home or you have already made the transition. When a person suffers from dementia, you generally will see a decline in [their] mental ability [that is] severe enough to interfere with [their] daily life” [Source: Alzheimer’s Association]. Memory loss is one common attribute a person might experience when they are diagnosed with dementia and some other functions that might be impaired include:
- Communication and language.
- Ability to focus and pay attention.
- Reasoning and judgment.
- Visual perception.
[Source: Alzheimer’s Association].
Now, just because caring for an individual with dementia can be challenging, it doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to receive the same quality care as anyone else who is living in a nursing home who hasn’t been diagnosed with the medical condition. Therefore, below we have compiled a list from Alzheimer’s Association that highlight some best practices nursing homes should employ that are geared toward caring for and tending to residents who suffer from dementia.
- They take the time to ensure a resident is consuming enough food and fluid. They can do this by:
- Providing good screening and having preventive systems in place for nutritional care.
- They “assure proper nutrition and hydration, given resident preferences and life circumstances.”
- They promote mealtimes as “pleasant and enjoyable activities.” This is also a time for staff to observe and interact with the residents they care for.
- They monitor a resident’s level of pain and follow protocol to manage it. The source states that “pain is under-recognized and under-treated among people with dementia, primarily because they can have difficulty communicating.” The source goes on to state that “poorly managed pain can result in behavioral symptoms and lead to unnecessary use of psychotropic medications.” Therefore, some ways nursing home staff members can gain control of pain management involving patients with dementia include:
- Treat pain as if it was a “fifth vital sign.” What this means is they should “routinely assess and treat it in a formal, systematic way, as one would treat blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature.”
- The pain management techniques used should be “tailored to the resident’s needs, circumstances, conditions, and risks.”
- Help residents to feel more at ease, even when they feel pain, by helping them “enjoy an improved quality of life.”
- They encourage social engagement. This can be done through activities which “help residents maintain their functional abilities and can enhance quality of life.” Some ways to promote social engagement include:
- Offer several opportunities for them to take advantage of.
- Create some fun ways to interact with the resident.
- Be respectful of their preferences, even if that means they wish to be alone.
Now, if you haven’t yet chosen a facility for your loved one, perhaps you might want to inquire about how the staff handles dementia patients when dealing with the types of situations mentioned above to see if they handle it appropriately or carelessly. Just because your loved one cannot express how they feel or communicate what they want or need doesn’t mean they should be ignored and neglected. Sadly, many nursing home residents are which often leads to them becoming malnourished, dehydrated, and depressed. And if you suspect that your loved one who lives in a nursing home in Knox, TN is being neglected simply because they cannot speak up and voice their concerns, it is time you become aware of their legal rights.
Every resident living in a nursing home today has rights and when they are violated, it is time for a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to step in and help. Therefore, if you would like to be connected with a local Knox, TN nursing home abuse lawyer in your area who can assist you with your issue, contact USAttorneys.com and we will connect you with some of the best attorneys in the field.