This month’s issue of Provider Magazine follows up on its July issue to tout non-drugging alternatives for resolving behavioral problems for people with dementia. The feature article describes a new paradigm for good dementia care, focused on understanding what a person with dementia is feeling and communicating with behavior rather than trying to prevent them from feeling or communicating at all. Dementia is often associated with frightening shifts in perception so that even caregivers with the best intentions are viewed as highly intrusive and unwelcome strangers. Developing deep and meaningful relationships with nursing home residents with dementia is critical to understanding behavior and preventing avoidable stress. Essentially, good dementia care relies on caregivers adapting their care to the resident rather than adapting the resident to their care.
The issue of Provider also includes helpful advice regarding dementia care from Dr. Jonathan Evans, the president-elect of the American Medical Directors’ Association and a friend of CANHR. Dr. Evans states “most behaviors are in response to something” and can often be easily resolved once that something is discovered. The key is remembering that people with dementia often have different frames of perception. In addition, there is an article about the efforts of a nursing home to improve dementia care by focusing on a more homelike environment and careful staff training as well as an article on the use of essential oils as a non-drugging intervention for people with dementia.
Provider Magazine’s substantial focus on good dementia care and moving away from dangerous and ineffective antipsychotic drugs is a timely and very welcome development in the effort to promote a Least Medicating approach to dementia care.