Having a loved one afflicted with Alzheimer’s can be extremely challenging and emotionally draining. It is a common form of dementia, a disease that progressively destroys an individual’s cognitive abilities.
While there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, symptom management and proper care can help the patient live more comfortably and slow the progression of symptoms. You can learn more about Alzheimer’s therapy and management at YourDementiaTherapist.com.
Nursing care plans also play a critical role in Alzheimer’s management. These plans aim to correctly identify a patient’s symptoms, risks, and needs and communicate them to healthcare providers to achieve optimum outcomes. Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what nursing care plans for Alzheimer’s entail, keep reading.
Care plan for impaired memory – Nursing diagnosis: impaired memory
Some of the most common symptoms of impaired memory function include memory loss, inability to reason, disorientation to time, place, person, circumstance, etc. Nurses examine the patient’s overall cognition and memory, check for sensory deprivation, poor nutrition, etc., and perform comprehensive, person-centered assessments.
If the diagnosis is confirmed, the care plan aims to maintain the patient’s memory for as long as possible and reverse memory loss to the maximum possible extent. Through this plan, the family members of the patient are also taught proper coping and management techniques.
Sometimes, the usage of television, radio, and newspaper is also considered beneficial. This is especially helpful for keeping a patient’s short-term memory intact. However, in cases where the patient’s understanding of reality has already diminished, nursing plans refrain from using media such as TV and radio.
Care plan for chronic confusion – Nursing diagnosis: chronic confusion
Chronic confusion in a patient is easily evidenced by a decreased ability to interpret the environment, disorientation, altered interpretation, memory impairment, etc. Healthcare providers may use cognitive function testing and do usual behavioral checks to detect symptoms.
The goal of the care plan is to reduce the patient’s confusion and increase functionality. It also tries to lower anxiety in patients and create a safe and stable atmosphere for them. Special measures are kept in place to ensure that the patient’s stress levels remain as low as possible.
The therapist or healthcare provider following this care plan utilizes several methods to reduce the patient’s overall stress. They limit decision-making situations and keep things simple and stress-free for the patient. Also, all emotionally charged conversations are avoided at all times. And even the family members are specially educated on how to avoid stressful, triggering situations for patients.
Care plan for impaired verbal communication – Nursing diagnosis: impaired verbal communication
Suppose the Alzheimer’s patient demonstrates an inability to speak, one or more common speaking disorders such as aphonia, aphasia, dyslalia, etc., or often resorts to slurred speech. In that case, they might be dealing with impaired verbal communication.
The care plan for impaired verbal communication will involve assessing the patient’s speech problems and the depth and extent of inability to communicate. Healthcare providers also often examine such patients’ hearing deficits and nonverbal communication to arrive at the diagnosis and design a suitable management plan.
To make verbal communication easier for such patients, therapists or healthcare providers encourage verbal communication in the patient and provide them a relaxed, calm, and unhurried environment to speak. Compassion and trust play a key role in making the patient more responsive to therapeutic efforts. So the nurse or therapist dealing with such patients tries to be gentle and considerate.
Family members are also taught to be patient and not dismissive. And in cases where verbal communication becomes exceptionally challenging for the patient, they can be encouraged to write their thoughts down or draw them.
These three care plans are some of the most common ones utilised for Alzheimer’s patients. There are several other nursing plans that healthcare practitioners follow depending on the symptoms. While it’s good to remain educated about such plans, never attempt to carry them out on your own. If you have a loved one afflicted with Dementia, leave the care and treatment in the hands of a doctor, nurse, or therapist.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.