Nurses lack of knowledge of Dementia

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by likelylass, May 11, 2010.

  1. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    I have read this thread with interest as I am currently training to be a nurse. Half of the training occurs on the ward. We have just had a three hour session on dementia, when the first part was spent watching a DVD: cant remember what it was called but it was a documentary of a mother and daughter, shown on TV several years ago. The documentary helped rid some of the students of the stereotypical images of people living with dementia, and promoted discussion.

    I did feel that the lecture lacked practicalities....don't contradict patient, problem of wandering and sundowning, ability of some patient's to access older memories as a way of making a connection, importance of involving relatives, difficulties with feeding, personal cares....I left the lecture theatre thinking that an opportunity had been missed. I know that we have had outside speakers for other lectures....maybe AS could find a way into Nurse education, or individuals could offer to go and speak to a group of nurses about their experience.

    People living with dementia have special needs, and how to provide the best care cannot be learned from a book. Please be patient with the nurses that you encounter....my experience is that the majority do care and are doing their best...but when you are looking after 8-12 patients....well what do you do first? Help the nurse get to know your loved one...talk about the things that you enjoy doing and that they have enjoyed in the past...whilst you are on the ward, try and educate the nurses...you know more about dementia than they do.
    Helen
     
  2. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Helen

    Thanks for resurrecting this thread, I seem to have missed it first time round.

    I've posted before about what we've done here, but it bears repeating.

    We have a scheme called Dementia Champions, run by the partnership of Alzheimer Scotland, User & Carer Involvement and the Dept. of Nursing at the uni. It's for trained nurses on the ward, they commit to one day a month at uni, lots of homework, and placements at day centres etc. It's a lot of work for them, but at the end of the course they have all said what a wonderful experience it has been. There is input from Alzscot staff, people with dementia and carers.

    The scheme is now in its third year, and the difference it has made is unbelievable. Every ward in the infirmary, including A&E, now has at least one fully trained champion, and it is now open to nursing auxilliaries. The champions take responsibility for cascading what they have learned to the rest of the ward staff. It's hoped to open it up to residential home carers, but funding is the issue here.

    The way John and I were treated in his final week of life is proof positive that it works.
     
  3. Charizomai

    Charizomai Registered User

    This is exactly what we need here in South Africa. The level of understanding of Dementia is incredibly low. It has caused much heart-ache across the country. There are two organisations doing good work in this regard, but it would be wonderful to have a programme like you mention!
     
  4. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Skye that sounds wonderful...I am not aware of anything like it locally. I only resurrected the thread when I saw a guest viewing it, and it struck a chord. I have not yet worked on an EMI ward.. one placement I would welcome, and many others complain about!!...but on each placement have encountered someone who has been touched by dementia.

    All I can say is that if someone you love with dementia has to go into hospital...be proactive...on admission make the staff aware of problems; if assistance is needed at mealtimes tell the staff and request that they keep a record of what has been eaten, that you will wish to see...if possible go at mealtimes and assist (wards do have protected mealtimes but have reasons why you should be there.)

    I think proficiency in caring for people with dementia comes from practise and observation of good practise. The opportunities in England are limited at the moment...we who have cared for people living with dementia must provide an example...as I said in my previous post, you are the best teachers.
    Helen
     
  5. serena

    serena Registered User

    Jul 17, 2010
    69
    Hampshire
    I would have to agree, mandatory Dementia training for all Nursing staff, Nursing assistants, porters etc.
    When my Mum was in Intensive Care after big Cancer op a few years back, all was fine but when put onto a General Ward, we found her on one visit left to sit in a pool of her own urine. My Dad packed up her clothes and took her home, then fired off letters to PCT Trust, local MP and Secretary of State for Health. We did receive apologies from all people we contacted but still felt stunned by the lack of understanding of AD and respect for Mum's dignity in what is a well respected major Teaching Hospital!


    Love and Light, Serena
     
  6. Pacucho

    Pacucho Registered User

    Dec 20, 2009
    530
    Wembley, Middlesex
    Just a thought

    I have read all the comments, and whilst I entirely agree that training and its application is sorely needed in the medical profession (for both nurses and doctors) I wonder whether there is anything else we can do with the assistance of the Society. Does the Society produce an ecucational leaflet (or card, etc.) which relatives can pass to nurses and doctors in the event that there loved one is suddenly in hospital, i.e. a sort of leaflet drop. It is an unusual way of approaching this issue but it may get some attention and notice.

    Paco
     
  7. Bookworm

    Bookworm Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,581
    Co. Derry
    #27 Bookworm, Aug 29, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
    Nurse education

    I agree Amy that one 3 hour session, presumably less with a coffee break is entirely inadequate both in terms of time allocated & in the educational processes involved - video + lecture could have been a useful basis for a (IMHO) week on this vital area.

    The week would have a variety of components family member i.e. carer like Hazel in to speak, person with dementia if at all possible like Norrms, talk from the local AS outreach worker, CPN & SS & benefits perspectives, services available, useful equipment to know about, the impact on younger family members + a personal exploration of the students own perspectives based on placement experiences that have worked & those that have been distressing because care didn't come up to scratch along with exploration of how dementia has touched the student's personal life.....sorry to be rambling on.....but even the thought that dementia is being taught without the differences you may encounter with various forms of dementia - to neglect the frontal lobe issues, to not connect with the TIA issues with VD, to not cover the vital need for antibiotics early in change of behaviour situations (& other evidence based issues of dementia care); carer breakdown.......& above all knowing that most do not die OF dementia but with it & that (inhalation) pneumonia is common on death certificates

    - oh I'm going on - Katherine - if you are reading - I would really appreciate coming alongside AS & helping devise a template of a week long experience that all student nurses should get as best practice....

    Hazel - what a heart warming post you made there, (((Hazel)))

    I'm also glad this thread has been resurrected - but it needs to be positive & constructive about finding a way forward

    I'm clicking to receive notice of new posts - well done Amy for bringing it back up the list & have sent you a personal message.
     
  8. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    The latest development is a 'customer satisfaction' form, to be filled in by someone with dementia or their carer after a stay in a general ward. This will highlight good and bad practice, and issues arising will be conveyed to the Director of Nursing, and included in the Dementia Champions course.

    We haven't yet found a way to get doctors involved, but of course they know everything already!;)
     
  9. Bookworm

    Bookworm Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,581
    Co. Derry
    Really interesting to hear that Hazel - such a simple tool that should reap great benefits to future patients & carers. That practice should get a wider airing.........

    Docs & their knowledge - probably needs a new thread!! lol
     
  10. maryw

    maryw Registered User

    Nov 16, 2008
    3,805
    Surrey
    I applaud all these efforts and would be happy to help in any way to do anything down here to improve awareness and care.
     

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