If you have been caring for an elderly relative with dementia then you will be painfully aware of how challenging it can be. One moment they are familiar and compassionate people, the next they can seem alien and aggressive. Even when they are at their most uncooperative it is important to continue treating them with respect and dignity, not just as a matter of tolerance of their condition, but as an acceptance of their needs as people. Such highs and lows can be difficult to manage, so it is vitally important that they receive care from those who are expert at handling such situations.
Care homes are a place of comfort, support and activity that provide the best possible quality of life for senior residents. When the elderly have a particular physical or medical need then additional adjustments are put in place to accommodate them. The requirements of those diagnosed with dementia however exceed even this, and sadly their condition demands that they reside in a specialist dementia care home.
A recent study conducted by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at University College London suggested that 99% of advanced sufferers are not receiving the specialist dementia treatment they need.
The survey underlines the impression that there may be a general perception in the UK of dementia as an illness not requiring specialist treatment. While general nursing in care homes is of benefit, it cannot provide the full service of care necessary for the full wellbeing of sufferers. What they really need is to be with specially trained staff in an environment which can properly accommodate their infliction.
Care plans involve a range of individually tailored interventions that appreciate the needs of residents. Following the NICE clinical guidelines, Eastleigh provides a varied daily program each month commenced by a team of highly trained activities co-ordinators. When a new resident with dementia joins our community we discuss their life, hobbies and other interests in order to advise them on how to make best use of our activities agenda.
Equipped with enhanced training, our team is able to appreciate the needs of newcomers and ensure that their program is suitably balanced between social opportunities and personal time. Staff at our specialist dementia care home also have training which helps them to detect unexplained changes in behaviour and manage all situations in a calm and patient manner.
When they are in an outgoing mood, involvement in the local community, outings to shops, and visits from entertainers are just some of the activities that keep residents busy at Eastleigh. For the quieter days there is a wide-ranging library and media collection on offer.
Sourcing an appropriate care home for someone with dementia is not simply a matter of finding a place with comfortable chairs and a friendly staff. Unlike some care homes, ones with specialist dementia treatment offer regular psychological evaluations and are able to administer appropriate medication that others can not. They can assess when pharmacological methods are necessary for pain treatment, and regularly monitor for depression and anxiety.
In order to maximise their physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing, understanding the need for highly trained specialists is a must when considering the residency of dementia patients.