When planning and coordinated care for an older adult diagnosed with dementia,
it’s important to avoid unnecessary transitions. These transitions
can include a change in physicians, hospitals or treatment plan.
Proper dementia care is focused on providing an environment that is consistent
and stable, and that includes taking the patient to physicians they find
familiar. According to a study done by researchers from the UBC Centre
for Health Services and Policy Research, a high number of transitions
put those diagnosed with dementia at risk for medication errors, and in
some cases, death.
In the study, researchers saw a spike in the number of transitions during
the first year of a dementia diagnoses. Of the study participants, more
than 60% of patients were hospitalized within the first year of their
diagnosis and the hospital stays lasted for a month or longer. The study
also found that study participants had a higher number of transitions
the year before and the year of their death.
By gathering a year’s worth of information, researchers of the study
also found that when patients were prescribed antipsychotic medication
or benzodiazepine, they experienced a higher number in transitions. Researchers
state that those who adhere to the guidelines of proper dementia care
had fewer transitions, but these guidelines can vary widely depending
on each patient’s needs.
Some of the guidelines for proper dementia care include:
- Having a physical exam
- Participating in counseling
- Receiving the recommended lab tests
- Seeing a dementia specialist
At the conclusion of the study, researchers stated that the first year
of a dementia diagnosis is extremely overwhelming and stressful for the
patient and their caregivers or family members. In light of this stress,
steps can still be taken to lessen transitions and improve care.
These steps include:
- Early planning for care that is consistent with one’s wishes
- Increasing caregiver and prover awareness in community support systems
- Establishing a connection with an ongoing primary care provider.
When you’re loved one is diagnosed with dementia, you only want the
best treatment for them. Unfortunately, in some cases, older adults experience
suffering at the hands of negligent caregivers. If you believe a family
member is a victim of elder abuse, call a California elder abuse attorney
from Norman Taylor & Associates at (888) 510-8619 today.