Maintaining the physical well being of the person with dementia becomes increasingly difficult as the person needs increasing support to stay physically well.
Always check the following:
- Exercise: does the person have opportunities to move around?
- Good diet: is the person getting enough to eat, is this a balanced diet and nutritional?
- Having enough fluids: is the person getting enough to drink?
- Being free from pain and infection: is there any sign of physical illness, which could be causing pain?
- Environment: is the room warm/cool enough? Are there things for the person to do? Are there people for them to talk to?
Difficulties in communication may lead to people with dementia not having their needs met properly in these areas.
Focussing on the above will help to:
- reduce the risk of delirium
- reduce potential communication difficulties where a person is trying to express these needs, and
- increase an individuals wellbeing.
Part of supporting someone with dementia is to ensure they are as free from pain as possible. Being in pain does not have to be an inevitable part of getting older or having dementia so it is important to always be aware of signs that the person with dementia may be in pain.
Taking time to get to know the person with dementia can help you see if they are reacting differently, which may indicate they are in discomfort or pain. Regular assessment of pain is an important part of care planning and will help you pick up any problems early on.
Different pain assessment tools can be helpful in identifying whether the person with dementia is communicating that they are experiencing pain.
This can be increasingly important if a person has difficulties talking and telling you they are in pain.
There are many different tools which can help. For example, the Disdat/DDAT (Disability Distress Assessment Tool) and PAINAD (Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia).
DISDAT can be found with a link alongside the printable version of this workbook or can be downloaded from http://www.endoflifecareforadults.nhs.uk/publications/disdat-form
In your notebook write down what would you do.