Answer the questions below after watching these videos 1-4. also post replies to 2 discussion posts 1-2.
1-What impact do you think Alzheimer’s Disease has on the patient’s family and/or caregivers?
2-How did it make you feel personally when you watched these videos?
3-Have you had any personal experience with Alzheimer’s Disease in your own family or friends? How did it affect your family?
4-What do you think a nurse could do to promote optimal care for these patients?
1. Alzheimer’s disease has a huge impact on and patient and their family. For the patient, it must be very frightening to suddenly not remember where you are, how to take care of yourself, how to communicate, or who your family members are. For the family, to see a deterioration of a loved one and for them not to recognize you or be able to convey the love they have for you, must be heartbreaking.
When I watched the videos I felt sad. The whole process of losing who you are is terrifying. It makes me slightly afraid to age. What awaits me when I get there? I am hopeful that science will experience a breakthrough with a cure or preventative medication for Alzheimer’s Disease.
I have a close family friend whose mother was always a friendly, happy lady. She began to forget things and even snuck out of the house when everyone was alseep and got lost. The police found her and brought her home. Luckily they lived in a small town and the police recognized her. At that point her family took her to be evaluated by a physican. He told them she had early Alzheimer’s Disease. They knew this was true in their hearts but had been in denial for quite some time. They did their best to care for her at home. As the disease progressed, she didn’t even recognize her husband or children. This was very painful to them all. She changed from a happy person to a mean, argumentative person. It became so stressful for the family that they had to put her in a long term care center for Alzheimer’s patients. They faithfully went weekly to see her for five more years until she finally passed. I believe that they were relieved when she died because their “mom” had already been gone for years. Now her daughter is in her early 60s and is fearful that she too will have Alzheimer’s disease.
As nurses, our priority is patient safety. We must assure that our patients are safe by monitoring for delerium, medication interactions, food and hydration status, fall risk, and skin integrity. We can promotet a regular routine and explain our care. We also must provide a calm and comforting atmosphere. Also, we must show care and concern for family members. We must be sure that safe homecare is given, or assist the family and social services prepare for facility placement. Sometimes we should just sit and listen, as I believe that can be great medicine.
2. As someone who has personally seen the effect of Alzheimer’s affects their great-grandparent and thusly their entire family I have insight to how I think other families and caregivers are affected. The caregivers, my grandparents in my case, are forced into a world of confusion, adaptation, hurt and guilt.
Confusion due to the first unknown course and cause of the disease of which they did not know much of since this was their first interaction with this disease. From this confusion comes enlightenment from constantly educating themselves and from multiple doctors’ visits, they learn to try and keep a consistent and safe environment available for the affected person. Even after these changes are met, hurt and guilt are still seemingly inevitable as the patient’s condition worsens. My grandparents could not be there all day to care for my great-grandfather so they made the decision to move him to a skilled nursing facility that specializes in Alzheimer care, something they swore they would never do to any of their parents. Even though they visited every day, my grandparents felt, and still feel to this day, guilt for making the decision to move him, even though this gave him constant care and access to facilities that would improve his medical and mental function.
Watching the video brought by Cambridge University (2016) made me remember the moments with my great-grandfather growing up and then watching him suffer and disappear through this disease. Although, it also made me remember the moments of miraculous wonder as I saw him lose himself to music, a great love throughout his whole life, whenever someone handed him a guitar. The video (Cambridge University, 2016) hopeful watching the researchers and physicians speaking about the advances and accomplishments towards preventing and curing this disease in the future.
As a nurse, I use these experiences to remind myself and other to have patience when dealing with any patient presenting with dementia or delirium. Just spending extra time to listen and talk with these patients can help exercise their cognitive ability and decrease their chance of becoming hysterical. I have also found that offering puzzles, crosswords, or coloring books can help ease patient’s minds and improve their mentation, and are especially useful when I must attend to other patients. Another feature I have learned to utilize is the recording device on our patient’s beds, it allows the patient’s family to record a message of reassurance whenever the patient attempts to get out of bed unassisted. This is a welcome alternative to using the bed alarm which can cause the patient to become even more confused, especially in the Intensive Care setting.