Whilst there are numerous health conditions that remain relatively understated in the UK, few are as troubling as Alzheimers. After all, this condition currently affects a high of 850,000 people in the UK, whilst this number is set to increase markedly in the near-term.
There’s also a significant problem with the diagnosis of dementia in the UK, thanks to the gradual nature of this condition and the relatively modest symptoms that occur in the early stages of the disease.
For those who suffer from Alzheimers, we should also recognise that the symptoms can be incredibly confusing and frustrating. This means that individuals with dementia require careful and considered care. In this post, we’ll look at the keys to the delivery of successful care and how agencies can empower their staff to look after their most vulnerable patients.
1) Afford Patients a Sense of Control
Perhaps the biggest challenge of suffering with Alzheimers is the loss of control and autonomy, which can leave patients struggling with additional symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This can affect even perfunctory tasks such as bathing and dressing, and as a caregiver, it’s imperative that you create interactive experiences that affords clients with at least a semblance of control.
In the case of bathing, for example, you should ensure that the room is well lit and strategically laid out, so that patients can easily navigate their way around the space and maintain as much independence as possible.
When it comes to dressing, it makes sense to provide direction by laying out a small selection of clothes that patients can choose from. The key here is to limit choices where possible, so that clients are empowered with a sense of control but not overwhelmed by a range of clothes that can confuse decision making.
2) Optimise a Patient’s Sense of Dignity
In the case of Alzheimers, it’s not unusual for issues surrounding incontinence to occur from time to time.
This can be extremely distressing for patients of all ages, whilst over time it can compromise a patient’s sense of dignity and leave them at the mercy of several negative emotions.
To help negate this challenge, you should strive to ensure that the bathroom is easy to find and laid out in a way that’s safe and easy to navigate. It’s also important that caregivers get to know their patient and recognise the telltale signs that they may require the toilet, and an agency can help in this respect by ensuring that patients are tended by a single employee.
3) Create a Culture of Patience and Protect your Caregivers
Caregivers are often in a vulnerable situation themselves, and many need support from their employer if they’re to provide consistent care confidently and over a sustained period of time.
In this respect, agencies should definitely create a culture that venerates patience above all other qualities, whilst providing them with the training they need to deliver the best possible service.
We’d also recommend investing in domiciliary care insurance for your agency and employees, with market leading insurers such as Gallagher offering this to clients.
This undoubtedly provides caregivers with greater peace of mind and a sense of protection, enabling them to do their job more effectively in the most challenging circumstances.