Monday, March 09, 2015

Dementia Patients and the Vital Role Nurses Play

When someone is diagnosed with dementia, whether caused by Alzheimer’s or something else, it is devastating for patient and family. The difficulty in thinking clearly, memory loss and mood changes can be exceedingly difficult to cope with, particularly if the sufferer is living at home.

There are organisations that can help with information and advice, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, but the treatment, care and support provided by the team of nursing professionals can be a vital lifeline to all concerned.

Specialist Dementia Nurses

These are Registered Mental Health Nurses who have undergone further training and specialized in dementia. They have an expert level of skill and knowledge in the care, treatment and support of people with dementia, their caregivers and families. They can visit patients at home to perform in-depth assessments, which will include observing the patient and their surroundings. They will take a detailed life history and ask for information on day-to-day life. In cases where care need is high, the specialist dementia nurse may work alongside other health and social care professionals. They may also advise other visiting nursing staff on the best care and treatment for a patient.

The charity, Dementia UK, provides specialist dementia nurses, known as Admiral Nurses, to patients living at home. They provide expert, practical and emotional support to caregivers and families, as well as to the patient.

Community Mental Health Nurses

Also known as Community Psychiatric Nurses, CPNs also offer much-needed support to dementia patients and caregivers. They make assessments in the home, removing the need for a trip to the surgery, which some sufferers find stressful. They also offer advice to all concerned on how best to cope, as well as how to improve the patient’s health and quality of life. For loved ones looking after someone with Alzheimer’s, this care and support from a mental health professional is of vital importance. To see what jobs are available in the NHS for mental health nurses, visit Nursing Personnel.

District or Community Nurses

Part of the primary care team, district nurses come to the home to perform more general nursing duties, such as changing dressings, as well as carrying out tests and assessments. As most visits will tend to be from a community nurse, it’s arguable that their role is most crucial, as the regular visits should encourage a sense of trust and rapport with the patient, caregivers and family.

Deciding to care for a dementia patient in the home is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it can have a profound effect on carers and loved ones. The help and support provided by the nursing team, together with other health and social care professionals, can ease the trauma considerably.

This is a guest blog entry.

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