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Understand the Process and Experience of Dementia

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1. Understand the neurology of dementia
1.1 Describe a range of causes of dementia syndrome?
Fixed cognitive impairments are due to a single event. Traumatic brain injury may cause generalized damage to the white matter of the brain or localized damages. A temporary reduction in the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain may lead to this type of dementia. A stroke or brain infection can also be the cause of dementia. Excessive alcoholic intake results in alcoholic dementia. Use of recreational drugs cause substance induced dementia. Once the over use of these drugs are stopped he impairment persists but may not progress. Dementia which begins gradually and worsens progressively over several years is usually caused by neurodegenerative disease; that is, by conditions affecting only or primarily the neurons of the brain and causing gradual but irreversible loss of function of these cells. Less commonly, a non-degenerative condition may have secondary effects on brain cells, which may or may not be reversible if the condition is treated. The causes of dementia depend on the age at which symptoms begin.

In the elderly population, a large majority of cases of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or both. It is rare to have dementia in young people, Among youngsters also the major dementia observed is Alzheimer’s disease. People who are affected by frequent head trauma, like boxers and football players are risk of dementia. Other than alcohol, drugs and psychiatric reasons certain genetic disorders also can cause dementia 1.2 Describe the types of memory impairment commonly experienced by individuals with dementia? People with Dementia lose their memory of day to day things but still remember things from their past. As the disease gradually gets worse individuals start to forget about their personal hygiene, personal wellbeing, how to cook or clean in their own home, they forget how to stay safe within their own environment. People with Dementia gradually lose their memory of being able to function as a functioning human being, it’s as if they go back to childlike and cannot remember anything on how to function 1.3 Explain the way that individuals process information with reference to the abilities and limitations of individuals with
dementia? People with dementia often confuse the generations, mistaking their wife for their mother, for example.

This may be very distressing for their family members, but it’s a natural aspect of their memory loss. The person with dementia may be trying to interpret a world that no longer makes sense to them because their brain is processing information incorrectly. Sometimes the person with dementia and those around them will misinterpret each other’s attempts at communication. These misunderstandings can be difficult, and may require some support. Difficulties with communication can be upsetting and cause confusion and can lead to aggression. 1.4 Explain how other factors can cause changes in an individual’s condition that may not be attributable to dementia? Other Factors can cause changes in an individual’s condition, such things like change of diet or medication, change of habitat or area. Change of surroundings within their own home. Changes in their day to day health, changes of people, meaning changes of carers on a regular basis, therefore not being consistent. 1.5 Explain why the abilities and needs of an individual with dementia may fluctuate? The needs of an individual with dementia may fluctuate because of a number of factors.

The main cause of dementia causing an increased fluctuation is as the condition progressives their capabilities and capacity of understanding will decline over time. Other causes are that the individual may be experiencing difficulties with understanding their nights and days, this leads to the person becoming fatigued during the day due to not sleeping properly. This fatigue levels can effect there cognitive abilities, social skills , coordination and become more uncoordinated with tasks. The individual with dementia may receive care from a care provider who does not maintain a good standard of continuity with their staff. This is a very important aspect to a person with this condition as they must become familiar with the people who care for them to gain trust and familiarity with routines such as personal care and medication. Poor staff training and risk managements strategies, care plans and guidelines not been put in place so all support workers are working differently causing the individual to become easily confused as no structured routines are in place, As there condition deteriorates they will become less in control of their toilet habits, requiring personal care support and incontinence aids.

This can cause fluctuations in the person’s behaviour as perhaps they are frustrated that they can no longer take care of their personal needs. When soiled the person is uncomfortable requiring assistance, this can cause understandable distress and negative behaviours displayed. Communication could be not structured correctly for the person who causes confusion and lack of understanding as they are unable to comprehend what is expected of them. Infections, change of medication, change of environment, pain and stress. They are also areas that cause an individual with dementia to show signs of their mobility, social skills, understanding and interaction levels to decrease and fluctuate. And lastly are they experiencing a type of abuse from someone around them, physical, mental, institutional, sexual, financial, neglect, verbal and they are not being able to communicate this to report it. 2. Understand the impact of recognition and diagnosis of dementia 2.1 Describe the impact of early diagnosis and follow up to diagnosis?

Early diagnosis enables a person with dementia and their family to receive help in understanding and adjusting to the diagnosis and to prepare for the future in an appropriate way. This might include making legal and financial arrangements, changes to living arrangements, and finding out about aids and services that will enhance quality of life for people with dementia and their family and friends. Early diagnosis can allow the individual to have an active role in decision making and planning for the future while families can educate themselves about the disease and learn effective ways of interacting with the person with dementia.

Changes in memory and thinking ability can be very worrying. Symptoms of dementia can be caused by several different diseases and conditions, some of which are treatable and reversible, including infections, depression, medication side-effects or nutritional deficiencies. The sooner the cause of dementia symptoms is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Asking a doctor to check any symptoms and to identify the cause of symptoms can bring relief to people and their families. There is evidence that the currently available medications for Alzheimer’s disease may be more beneficial if given early in the disease process. These medications can help to maintain daily function and quality of life as well as stabilise cognitive decline in some people; however, they do not help everyone and they are not a cure. Early diagnosis allows for prompt access to medications and medical attention. Receiving a diagnosis can also help in the management of other symptoms which may accompany the early stage of dementia, such as depression or irritability.

Also reviewing management of other medical conditions is critical, as memory problems may interfere with a person remembering to take important medications such as for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure 2.2 Explain the importance of recording possible signs or symptoms of dementia in an individual in line with agreed ways of working? The health and well-being of a person should be monitored on a regular basis to ensure any resulting needs can be actioned without delay. When monitoring somebody’s condition, it is important to record any findings in line with your organisation’s policies and procedures. When supporting somebody with dementia, it may be of benefit to involve the family.

As a family member, they may not see the person as much as the support worker does and therefore they can help to give you a better picture of the person and their needs. The diary that the support worker compiles could help them and you to identify changes in the person that may be otherwise missed. The diary could also aid in monitoring any current interventions and the resulting benefits to the person deteriorating. The service user’s GP or neurologist may benefit from the information recorded in altering any medications or treatment the person receives. The following areas are those which it is important to monitor and record is the person, as these will show what changes have occurred and over what period:

• memory
• behaviour
•ability to cope with daily living skills
•care-giving strategies – have they worked?
•activities the person enjoys
•any medications they have taken that day (including prescriptions, over-the-counter and herbal remedies) with details of medication name, dosage, and when and how many taken daily.

2.3 Explain the process of reporting possible signs of dementia within agreed ways of working

2.4 Describe the possible impact of receiving a diagnosis of dementia on: the individual their family and friends

3. Understand how dementia care must be underpinned by a person centred approach 3.1 Compare a person centred and a nonperson centred approach to dementia care 3.2 Describe a range of different techniques that can be used to meet the fluctuating abilities and needs of the individual with dementia 3.3 Describe how myths and stereotypes related to dementia may affect the individual and their carers 3.4 Describe ways in which individuals and carers can be supported to overcome their fears.

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