Ask the Continuing Care Expert – Renee White
The Right Time: If you are answering “yes” to any of these questions; research facilities and make a plan before you are in a crisis situation.
- Are they unable to dress and undress appropriately?
- Are they unable to manage the bathroom safely and appropriately?
- Are they unable to manage food preparation safely and appropriately?
- Are they unable to maintain proper personal hygiene?
- Have they left their home and had trouble finding their way back?
- Are they paranoid about people entering their home?
- Do they refuse to let home care into their home to help with care?
- Are they paranoid about losing their possessions?
- Do they think someone is stealing from them?
- Are they up multiple times at night (disoriented to time)?
- And very importantly, is the health of their current caregiver/spouse/partner at risk because of the strain of providing 24 hour care
The Right Facility:
Changes are very difficult for individuals with dementia. It is in their best interest to find a facility that can meet their needs now and in the future.
- Choose a facility that provides all levels of care without having to move their client to different units as their care needs increase.
- Can the facility guarantee that a bed will be available if more care is required?
- Does the facility provide end of life care.
- Staffing: Check the staff /client ratio of all shifts. What is the staff turn over rate. Consistent staff provides a stable safe environment. The staff/client ratio is crucial in dementia care. Individuals with dementia need extra time to process information. Facilities that are under staffed and those that are task oriented cannot provide the optimum care. If staff have time to provide the care at a pace that the client can manage it reduces the client’s anxiety and therefore reduces the incidents of resistance to the care. In time the trust that is built between staff and client increases the client’s quality of life, as their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met.
- Organized activities may seem important, however, many individuals with dementia no longer function well in organized group activities. Even activities that were pleasurable to them in the past may be overwhelming for them now. It is important to have caregivers who recognize the individual’s
current capabilities and focus the activities to their ability, interest and attention span.