Nursing Diagnosis for Dementia
Dementia is one of the significant causes of disability and dependency among older people. About 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia, and at least 5 million of them are Americans. These numbers are expected to rise as the population increases.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is often confused with Alzheimer’s disease. However, dementia is not a specific disease but a syndrome. A syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that do not have a thorough diagnosis.
In other words, dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive functioning. People with dementia have impaired memory, thinking, judgment, orientation, comprehension, and even language.
Dementia usually affects older people. However, it is still not a normal part of aging. Many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia.
Causes of Dementia
Dementia usually occurs due to damage to brain cells, but various medical conditions can also cause it. These medical conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontal lobe dementia
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Parkinson’s disease
- HIV infection
- Traumatic brain injuries
Sign and Symptoms of Dementia
Signs and symptoms vary from person to person. But according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people with dementia will exhibit these common behaviors:
- Getting lost even in a familiar neighborhood
- Using unusual words
- Confusion and forgetfulness
- Cannot independently complete tasks anymore
- Changes in mood
- Being repetitive
Nursing Diagnosis for Dementia
When taking care of people with dementia, it is vital to make an appropriate nursing diagnosis so that you can provide proper nursing management. Here are the nursing diagnoses for dementia.
- Risk for trauma due to disorientation
- Risk for self-directed or other-directed violence related to delusional thinking
- Chronic confusion due to alteration in the function of the brain tissue
- Self-care deficit due to cognitive impairment
- Risk for falls, due to cognitive impairment
Nursing Management for Dementia
Dealing with most people suffering from dementia is usually challenging. However, it is still essential to know the appropriate management and interventions for people diagnosed with the disease. (Related: What to Bring Someone in Hospice Care)
People with dementia require regular orientation to reality and its surroundings. Providing familiar objects around and using items that will remind them about time and date, such as calendars and clock, can help them maintain reality orientation.
Provide Positive Feedback
It’s vital to acknowledge the patient’s actions whenever their thinking and behavior are appropriate. Positive feedback helps them increase their self-esteem as well as the desire to repeat appropriate behavior.
Use Simple Words
Use simple words and explanations when communicating with a dementia patient. Speaking face-to-face and deliberately is the most effective way of talking to them.
People with dementia are usually delusional and often suspicious of others. When this happens, express reasonable doubt in response to delusional thinking and discuss with the patient the potential adverse effect of being suspicious to other people.
Do Not Cultivate False Ideas
Patients with dementia typically can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. It’s best to talk to them about real people and actual events and do not allow the cultivation of false ideas.
Closely Observe Them
Since most people diagnosed with dementia are delusional, most of them are violent. Thus, focusing on the patient’s safety is a must.
What To Do If A Loved One Is Showing Signs Of Dementia?
When your loved one is showing early signs of dementia, it’s better to discuss it with them and advise them to seek medical assistance. There may be denial at first, but having the appropriate plan and management will surely benefit your loved one and will avoid future complications that may occur.
Let Your Loved Ones Leave a Lasting Legacy
Making end-of-life choices for your loved ones can be tough. But it’s also an opportunity to let them leave a lasting legacy. Consider body donation as an option.
Donating your body to science helps medical researchers and practitioners save lives. It also helps transform the future of medicine – one of the greatest legacies someone can leave behind.
About The Author
As a nurse, Franchette Agatha Jardin firmly believes in the importance of understanding the human body and the advancement of science. She writes about what people can do for the betterment of the world and how everyone can be part of something great.