Random Important Facts That I Have Learned About Dementia

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Over the last few months I have been studying everything I can about dementia, and seeing things unfold each day as Dad’s disease progresses. Below are some random but important things that I have learnt recently.

• Teaching people about dementia is difficult – why?…because just when you learn how to do something, the disease progresses and you need to learn something else. Dementia is a moving target.
• Every person’s journey is completely different, which means that you can’t just use a few core care methods, you need to use the ones that suit that person.
• We are about to have a serious problem with our hospitals in Australia with many beds being taken up by the aged, and not enough beds.
• Dignity is really important for the person with dementia.
• There is not enough follow up of ‘side effects’ from medications prescribed by doctors. People are falling through the cracks.
• Carers should be involved in the follow up process as they are the ones who notice the subtle day to day changes after medications are prescribed.
• One care person doing the showering is better than 4 (this happened last week)
• Lewy Body dementia is often mis-diagnosed up to 80% of the time.
• There are many different types of care models eg person centred care, feelings matter most etc
• You can positively impact on a person with dementia within 30 seconds, you just need to know how.
• Hospital wards are very noisy places and not suitable for people with dementia.
• Caring or nursing someone with dementia without knowing the person’s history is setting yourself up for failure. Doing your homework will reduce a lot of anxiety for the person, the carer/nurse, and others nearby. It may even avoid you getting hit.
• Environment plays a huge impact on patient behaviour. We just moved Dad from the noisy Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) to the Repat Assessment Ward (8 bed facility) and the improvement in his demeanour is incredible. He is calmer, happier and has stopped the manic pacing that he has been doing for over a month.

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