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Dementia: Non-Prescription Symptom Management

When considering a treatment plan for Alzheimer’s Dementia, there are several ways to manage symptoms without rushing to medication. Because some common side effects of many Alzheimer’s medications include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased bowel movement frequency, prescribing medication should be considered after some non-prescription measures have been exhausted.

If a patient struggles with incontinence, simply scheduling toileting activity or prompting toileting can help mitigate incontinence. Providing assistance with daily living activities can alleviate the frustration a patient may have performing routine tasks that used to be easier. Ensuring a calm environment also can help. Structuring a calm environment could include positive reinforcement to increase independence or decrease dependence. Having a calm demeanor around the patient also can help, and even using music during meals and bathing can help trigger feelings of peace and curb aggression.

Avoid confrontation as much as possible, and use redirection to help a patient focus on something positive instead of getting into an argument with them. If a patient has a hallucination, don’t dispute what they are seeing. Try to redirect them instead or deflect it with humor. Stimulate family presence with video or audio tapes, and the use of pet therapy also can help provide a calming effect.

Bright light and white noise also can help calm a dementia patient’s demeanor. Walking and light exercise can help on multiple levels as well.

Above all, maintain a calm demeanor around a patient struggling with the onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia. Speak at a patient’s comprehension level and use a caregiver support group to help rejuvenate your own spirit as you walk alongside a loved one through this often dark and frightening journey.

Original post may be found on alixaRX.com blog.

Guest Post by Dr. Albert Barber:

Dr. Barber is a Director of Pharmacy Services for alixaRx, a national long-term care pharmacy. He is responsible for clinical education and works on regulatory affairs for alixaRx. Previously he was Director of Pharmacy for Golden Living, a provider of long-term and post-acute care for residents needing skilled nursing and assisted living services. He currently serves as the clinical consultant pharmacist for Golden Living Kirtland, Ohio. Al also provides drug therapy consultations to seniors living in the community through his consulting practice, Clinical Rx Consulting. Primary areas of practice include: post-acute care, geriatrics, psychopharmacology, and pain management.

Al is a Past-President of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). He also serves as national faculty for the APhA Medication Therapy Management Certificate Program.

Pedagogy offers several online continuing education courses for nurses and accredited courses for long term care administrators dealing with the management of dementia.

Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment for Administrators 
Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment: An Overview
Diagnosing Dementia
Introduction to Dementia
Massage and Compassionate Touch® in Dementia Care
Problem Solving Strategies in Dementia Care
Treatment of Dementia

Click on each title to learn more.
Posted: 1/21/2015 2:51:52 PM
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