Support in care for those who suffer from dementia

The ageing population is a concern that, in a certain way, will affect us all. As a result, it seems that more and more people are and will suffer from dementia. For example in the Netherlands, nowadays 1 out of 5 people above the age of 70 suffer from dementia symptoms.

In order to provide care for this delicate group in our society, we could distinguish 6 main elements. These should be taken into consideration when taking care of those who show incomprehensible behavior. Although for us this type of care will always remain a job which requires a human touch, nevertheless, we would like to emphasize how technology could be used to optimize the care provided and how it could support the care professionals and volunteers in their job performance.

“The care institution or care provider should provide their care takers or volunteers with guidelines for interaction and care instructions for those who are under the responsibility of the institution or provider.”

An individual approach leads to an adequate response to symptoms of incomprehensible behavior. By providing care givers with the right information at the right time, the quality and effectiveness of the care provided could be improved substantially. With the growing number of smartphones present in the professional care environment, residential information could be updated and available on the spot. Bear in mind, recording information is a delicate and most often a sensitive task. Information distribution should be planned in great detail, in terms of security and availability.

Besides providing the right information at the right time to the right person, technology could also contribute to the wellbeing and privacy of the person cared for. In case of applying technology to support care givers, it is important to avoid being stuck to a particular brand or vendor, care systems go beyond nurse call systems. Each brand has its own strengths and by combining the right systems, wellbeing and staff’s efficiency could be improved and the workload for care givers could be reduced.

“The care giver is aware of the behavior and life history of their clients. Additionally, the care giver should recognize the signals that could lead to incomprehensible behavior and should have knowledge on how to comfort the person in case of anxiety. The caregiver should document these personal aspects in order for others to learn.”

As mentioned in element 1, the documentation and availability on the spot of specific and client specific information is decisive in successful care provision. Approaching and comforting a client is the human aspect in the care provision for elderly and people with dementia symptoms.

Recognizing signals is something where technology could contribute. With current technologies it is possible to monitor a type of lifestyle without breaching privacy or create an imprisonment atmosphere. With elements such as bed mats, door contacts and other types of domotica, a lifestyle could be mapped. If disturbances occur in this lifestyle care givers will be informed and the appropriate action could be taken. This passive method of ensuring the wellbeing of people is a great improvement in the privacy of the client. This type of lifestyle monitoring is an addition which could easily be integrated into the current nurse call/care systems. Often the current systems present could be used as elements for lifestyle mapping.

“Family and informal caregivers should play an important role in filling in the care provided to the client. Relatives and friend could make a crucial contribution in preventing and dealing with situations of panic, anxiety or aggression.”

Family and relatives fulfill an important role in composing the care for their loved ones. They know the client best and could give excellent advice where comfort and calmness could be found for the client. Additionally, the family and informal care givers could also contribute to avoid panic and anxiety situations. By using communication routing, the relatives and informal caregivers could be included into a communication list. In case of a panic situation, a family member or a well-known friend could have a conversation, by voice connection, with the client, which could be very calming. By using a communication routing module, a voice connection could be established for pre-arranged nurse calls or passive alarms and support the care givers in calming the client, avoiding aggressive situations.

“The care givers, doctors and psychologist together, decide how the care for the client should be executed and to what behavior care givers should intervene.”

It is important to monitor those who might show incomprehensible behavior in order to respond in case the client needs guidance or an intervention. However, as little intervention as possible is conducive to the peace and welfare of the client. How could the institution or care provider guarantee the safety and wellbeing of the client and at the same time minimize infringement of privacy.

Lifestyle monitoring and passive alarming systems are a great ways to monitor clients while maintaining their privacy. Systems such as acoustic monitoring are ways to reduce the number of times a caregiver has to enter the living environment of the client.  Additionally, by using wandering control systems, the client is unaware of moving in and around a defined living environment. A defined living area for the client, allows the client to move in an environment where the wellbeing could be guaranteed. In case the client leaves the pre-defined area, care givers will be notified. Additionally, during the nights, the size of the area could be reduced so unexpected wandering during the night should be noted earlier.

“Care givers, doctors and psychologists should make an analysis of the behavior of the client. Based on the behavior the client’s history and medicine use could provide insights in the cause of incomprehensible behavior by the client”

The analysis of behavior could be valuable in improving the wellbeing and emotional state of the client. A conscious analysis to the behavior could lead into a decrease of the use of medication. Reduced medication use is conducive to the mood and emotional state of the client. By documenting behavioral aspects into a system, the information could be compared and analyzed by the influence certain types of care have on the client. In order to complete the picture of the relation between care and behavior, the nurse call, monitoring and wandering systems could be linked into an analysis system. By specifying the system to situation, the number and types of alarms given by the systems could give valuable information in behavior and care offered.

“In order to decrease the risk of misunderstood behavior, the care giver has to avoid aggression or extreme unrest, without giving the person any medicines.”

The institution or care provider, should clearly document how to calm a client. It is better to calm the client with calming activities or recognizable and calming things instead of using sedatives. Another aspect to take into account would be the body language of the care giver. By providing support to the caregiver, would help the caregiver to be more confident and calmer. A restful posture would have a positive effect on the mood of the client. That is why it is important to provide professionals with good communication equipment, by putting safety first, the care giver is capable of handling any situation.

Our system integration platform ControlCenter10 could, in addition to the 6 main elements, be a support to the care professionals and the persons who suffer from dementia. For every resident or person in need of care, the platform of Foston could easily integrate the specific needs characteristics into the platform. Adjustments are simple and easy to make, making ControlCenter10 a friendly platform for the long-term care.

Our platform, ControlCenter10, contains many modules which would could help and support the care professionals in providing the best possible care to those who suffer from dementia. ControlCenter10 is a systems integration platform which allows an institution or care provider to select the best of technology (any brand or manufacturer) to support the care giving process. Our platform is designed to integrate systems, such as: nurse call systems, wandering control, domotica and door contacts in order to develop a specialized network of systems for institutions and care providers to support and improve the care given.

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