"Long Term Care of Alzheimer’ s Patient" is a wonderful example of a paper on the disorder. Alzheimer's disease is a condition in which there is a progressive degeneration of the brain. Warning signs that hint at the development of the disease is memory loss that affects day-to-day tasks, difficulty in performing certain tasks which are actually familiar, development of language problems like finding the right word, disorientation in time and space, poor or decreased judgment in certain situations, problems with abstract thinking, misplacing things, changes in mood, behavior, and personality and loss of initiative.
The condition is neither curable nor preventable. It is always progressive. However, the adaptation of certain healthy lifestyle habits can help decrease the progress of the disease. It is important for the patient and the family members to know about the disease and the way to handle it so that appropriate help can be sought at the right time and the patient is treated with respect, thus enhancing the quality of life of the patient (Alzheimer Society Toronto). What is the right time for long term care? In the late stages of the condition, the patient develops severe cognitive impairment leading to severe memory loss, inability to process information, lacks the orientation of place and time, inability to recognize speech, needs help for toileting and eating, needs help for walking, and has difficulty in swallowing.
In this stage, the patient cannot live at home alone and the involvement of caregiver and family becomes a must. Gradually, the caregiver also becomes very stressed. Two factors that need to be considered when deciding upon long-term care in a dementia patient are the physical and mental state of the caregiver and the physical and mental state of the patient.
Severe mental and physical stress and deterioration on the part of the current caregiver and symptoms of social withdrawal and inability to concentrate are indicators of shifting the patient to a 24-hour care place. Also, if the patient is physically abusive and does things that jeopardize his and other's safety, then he must be shifted to long-term care (Helpguide. org). Factors to be considered when seeking a long-term care The main factors which need to be addressed are difficulty in swallowing solids and liquids, care of body and skin, maintenance of bladder and bowel function, monitoring of pain, and decreasing risk of infection.
Other factors include the safety of the patient and recreation (Alzheimer Society Toronto). Preparing the family member to move Preparing the family member to move to a long-term care placement is a very sensitive issue and must be handled with care. the patient must be informed about the benefits and the kind of care that will be delivered in long-term care. The decisions must be based on the lifelong values and desires of the person and on what the person is expected to want (Alzheimer Society Toronto). Helping the patient adjusting to the new situation and build a relationship with the staff The patient can be helped to adjust to the new situation by structuring the day, by providing consistent cues of environment about the time, helping a person look forward to various activities of the day like bathing, meal eating, going outdoors, and getting ready for bed, by asking the patient to perform certain small tasks around the house, by being near the person as much as possible and by keeping the environment as familiar as possible (Helpguide. org).
Alzheimer Society Toronto. Information Sheets and brochures. July 28, 2009, http://www.alzheimertoronto.org/lib_brochures.htm
Helpguide.org. Alzheimer's Caregivers Guide. July 28, 2009, http://helpguide.org/elder/alzheimers_disease_dementias_caring_caregivers.htm