October 12 2015
Written By
Barbara Karnes, RN
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The Shift~ Caregivers and Alzheimer's

The Shift~ Caregivers and Alzheimer's


Barbara - November 08 2018

Hi Jenny, You are in a difficult situation. Working for a company you must follow their rules and protocols. When the protocols are in contrast to what you think is appropriate you have limited choices. One you can talk with your supervisor, explain your reasoning and come to an agreement on how a situation can be addresses. If you continue to have conflicts on care issues you might look for a place to work that is more compatible to your principles. Now, to the situation you mentioned. Dementia presents a unique challenge in the area of how much does the patient have a say in their care. I don’t think there can be a specific rule that applies to all. Dementia is such an individual disease in how it unfolds it can’t have a “one side fits all” plan of care. I would hope that facilities that provide care for dementia patients recognize this and allow their employees the latitude to use their judgement in providing care. This freedom to use judgement begins with comprehensive staff education. A whole another blog topic.
Blessings! Barbara

Jenny Brown - November 08 2018

I have a dementia patient where I work, today he asked me to stay in bed, so I left him in bed as he asked and I was told by a nurse where I work that I was wrong to do this and he hasn’t go capacity to answer simple questions when I know he can, I was told that I was depriving him of his liberty when this was his choice, so what do I do?

Barbara - September 07 2018

Hi Heather, in response to your questions about letting your mom be comfortable rather than forcing her to sit in chair and eat when she doesn’t want to: I agree with your idea for her care. You are allowing her final days to be comfortable instead of pushing an agenda that makes others comfortable but not her. When a loved one is declining our instinct tells us to do everything medically possible to keep a person breathing—no matter how the methods affect the ill person. Since death comes to us all, I believe if a person is fixable and can have a quality life we need to do our best to fix them BUT when the quality of living is severely compromised through age, dementia, chronic, progressive, non fixable illness are we the watchers, the caregivers, meeting our needs or the person afflicted.? It seems to me that is what is happening here. Heather, it sounds like you are on the right tract in caring for your mom—keep loving her and care for her in the manner you would want to be treated if places were switched.
My blessings are with you , your mom and your family. Barbara

Heather - September 07 2018

Mom is 88 in late stage dementia, cannot sit up without propping, with a pronounced lean. is there any point in getting her out of bed other than to go on the toilet? using your suggestion it seems like I should let her remain in bed because that’s how I would want to be you know the most comfortable, of course moved periodically, but I’m encountering conflict with family members who disagree and feel that she should be woken up in the morning, follow a regular schedule and I feel like I just need to eat her be comfortable while feeding her at every opportunity that she will accept it instead of doing meals we just have snacks and bites pretty constantly. I purchased one of those self inflating and deflating bed pads to keep her from getting bed sores. I don’t want her neglected and left in the bed but if that’s what’s most comfortable shouldn’t that be the priority?

Barbara Karnes - May 07 2018

Hi Estelle, I’m not sure what you are asking about the person you are caring for. Being 90 years old, with dementia, I am not surprised she is having "trouble getting out of bed” "and not eating”. Her body is slowly shutting down. Carefully help her get out of bed, always offer her food but you don’t need to force her to eat. Treat her gently with compassion.
I appreciate your concern for her. That tells me you are a caring, considerate professional. Blessings to you in the work you are doing. Barbara

Estelle - May 07 2018

I’m a caregiver and I’m having a hard time getting my patients to get out of bed and eat she’s a dementia patient and 90yrs old and don’t take a lot of medicine

Deanea - January 11 2018

I am a in home caretaker.
I recently was assigned to a far gone dementia patient.
I have experience and reading a lot how to encourage getting out of bed. Take meds eat
I wasn’t able to get her fully dressed but was able to shower client yesterday.
Today will not get out of bed

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