Anger, confusion and sadness are a few symptoms a person with dementia may experience from time to time. This may often result in mood swings and unpredictable behaviours. These episodes can be trying for caregivers who are trying to help them with a wide range of activities of daily living. If you are running a care home with residents suffering from dementia, it is important that your caregiving staff are well-trained to care for such residents.
Over here we discuss some ways that will help your care home staff understand dementia and handle mood swings associated with the condition:
- Learn about common dementia behaviour: A person with dementia may become irritable and angry without even being provoked. He or she may not cooperate with caregiving staff for even daily activities such as taking a shower, eating meals or taking medication. To deal with any problems related to mood swings, it is important that the caregivers fully understand dementia and common dementia behaviours.
- Understand the individual: The best thing that caregivers can do to mitigate mood swings is to understand the individual person. An understanding of an individual resident’s history, likes and dislikes, what calms him or her down and what upsets him or her can help the caregiving staff organize the resident’s day, anticipate problems, and even avert them sometimes.
- Check for physical comfort and needs: Often residents with dementia may feel discomfort and they may not express it. But this may trigger a mood swing. Caregiving staff in your care homes should make sure that there is no physical discomfort such as feeling too hot or too cold, sleep disturbances, and reactions to medications that are bothering them. Caregivers should be trained to assess the physical needs of residents and address them appropriately.
- Identify the behavior’s cause: Certain triggers are responsible for the erratic behavior of residents. These triggers could be an unexpected visitor or glaring light or too much noise. Caregivers should acknowledge residents’ feelings and not try to correct them even if they have their facts wrong. A calm and poised response from caregivers can be reassuring for residents.
- Distract and redirect: If a resident is becoming agitated and irritable, the caregivers must be trained to distract them by changing the subject or doing something they enjoy. For instance, if a resident is having mood swings, taking him or her out for a walk may help to redirect the resident’s attention. Redirection can be quite helpful in ending an outburst. However, caregivers must be quick on their feet to come up with different ideas.
- Make sure it’s not a reaction to medication: If a resident with dementia has been showing signs of erratic behavior particularly after being prescribed a new medication, caregivers should without any delay inform the GP concerned. The difficulties experienced by the residents should be well-documented for the doctor’s reference. If the care home is using electronic medical records, caregivers can note the observations quickly and easily.
Benefits of eMAR for care homes providing dementia care
Caring for patients with dementia can sometimes be challenging. Dealing with erratic behavior and personality disorders can result in lapses in inpatient care such as medication errors. An alternative to paper-based charts, eMAR charts are more precise and efficient. Using electronic medical records ensures medication is administered accurately and reliably. This will let caregivers spend more time with residents to give them the person-centered care they need.