Thursday, January 28, 2010

Making a connection

Elderly clients are so intriguing. I was a guest at a facility this week in which I was privileged to observe the activity staff engaging residents with music. A number of the residents were unable to follow a conversation due to advanced dementia, however, they responded with enthusiasm, clapping of hands and a few even joined in with the singing. Although the pathways for verbal communication due to dementia are not accessible, music seems to be able to connect residents with even the most advanced dementia to those around them. A young man shared with me that his grandmother, who he was very close to when growing up, no longer recognizes him however when he plays the guitar for her she lights up and smiles. He said this is a gift he is able to give her when he visits every week. This facility plays music for the residents through out the day that includes music from their era, gospel and soothing sounds. Staff are constantly observing the reactions of the residents so they are available when a moment happens and a door opens for just a little while, they are there to connect with the resident. Each resident was acknowledged, validated and spoken to respectfully several times during my visit.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taking belongings away violation of resident rights

An incident that I became aware of recently where caregivers had decided to remove a resident's belongings because he would make a mess of his room was disturbing. To take and with hold a person's belongings is a violation of their right to property. The caregivers needed to explore options that protected and ensured the resident's rights. Options possible could have included increased supervision, providing activities that interested the client, request a family member to visit during that particular time or exploration of why the resident was agitated and remove the cause. Did the agitation occur frequently or at the same time during the day or night? Did the resident need to be toileted, was the resident in pain, did the resident have gastric upset or was ill or possibly hunger? Putting residents in front of a television without monitoring what is being viewed could possibly be the problem. Residents with dementia lose the ability to process stimuli in the same manner that individuals who do not have dementia. Providing care to individuals with dementia is challenging because often they are unable to verbalize what is bothering them. Providing a safe environment with a high quality of life requires all the skills of observation, reasoning and critical thinking of the caregivers.