One of the most challenging tasks that a CNA may encounter when caring for a patient is helping patients with memory loss and confusion. There are a lot of instances when people who have experienced serious traumas to the head or are undergoing a disease which impairs their memory. Often patients with dementia are assigned to a health care worker. In this case, it is important to learn exactly how they shall be treated and how they are to act towards these patients. These patients need a very caring and understanding person in order to avoid any problems when they are being provided with healthcare services.
The first thing that a CNA must always do is to always knock on the door of the patient’s room and to call out the name of the patient. This will help eliminate any chances of the patient getting surprised when they enter the room and of being suspicious as well. The worker must also introduce himself well to the patient in a manner that will be grasped by the patient. Always have a polite and comforting tone to your voice and have a light and cheery approach when talking to them.
The next thing to remember is that patients who suffer from memory problems do not have the capacity to process too much information. Therefore, a nurse aide must be as concise and to the point when asking the patient questions or when stating some instructions to them. The patient may easily get upset or irritated when there is too much information being offered to them at one time. The worker must therefore try to make it as easy as possible for the patient to grasp what they are saying. Do not talk down to the patient or express your irritation if the patient does not seem to understand or pay attention to what you are saying at times.
If the patient is suffering from poor memory or of total loss of memory, it is important that one be very honest with them. Never try to play along with the patient’s poor recollection or of mistaking you for someone else such as their children or spouse. Tell them what your real name is or if they are quite confused with the date and the place that they are in, tell them also what the exact date is and where they really are. Assure them that it is the right date and place.
It can be pretty hard to handle a patient who is suffering from this type of condition but the CNA must remember that it is not the patient’s fault. They must try to be as patient and understanding as they can and must exercise all respect and politeness when answering the patient. Remember that the patient themselves are having a hard time with their memory and is also frustrated with it. The important thing therefore, when helping patients with memory loss and confusion is to be as patient and as understanding as you can.
Watch the video on how to care for people with dementia: (Part 1)
How to approach patients: (Part 2)
How to distract and redirect from unsafe behaviors: (Part 3)
Stop and assess the situation: (Part 4)
When doing all the right stuff doesn’t work: (Part 5)
Bathing patients who have dementia: (Part 6)