Working with the elderly can be a rewarding experience for any certified nursing assistant. While dealing with these patients requires a unique training and skill-set, the benefits of assisting those who are in their later years of life provides thousands of CNAs with a sense of accomplishment that’s unlike any other profession. If you’re interested in working with elderly patients, then you must become well-versed in dealing with dementia patients and the symptoms of this degenerative disease. As the patient delves deeper into dementia it’s not uncommon for them to begin experiencing agitation and confusion. Throughout your training and work as a certified nursing assistant (CNACertificationScoop), it’s essential that you work on ways to help relieve this agitation and confusion while not sacrificing the quality of patient care.
The Most Effective Ways to Help Dementia Patients
The following tips are used by professional CNAs throughout the country and are recommended by health care organizations and websites like this one.
- Environmental Focus – As a certified nursing assistant you must place your focus on creating a stress-free and restful environment for your patients. One of the most effective ways of creating such an environment is through good communication skills. Dementia patients who are unable to clearly use verbal communication methods will likely turn to nonverbal communication to explain their desires and dislikes. Therefore, you must become well-versed in communicating by reading the body language and behavior of patients.
- Increase Kindness – Patients with severe dementia and other cognitive impairments have been shown to respond much better to those who treat them with a gentle, sensitive quality. As a certified nursing assistant, you can enhance the quality of your care by letting the patients know you actually care for them and are trying to understand them. Repeat this as many times to the patients as necessary so they understand you are a friend and not a foe.
- Increase Quiet Time – Many times, those with dementia are sensitive to loud noises. When a bang or loud conversations are heard, these patients may become agitated and angry. To eliminate this agitation and confusion, it’s imperative that you eliminate as much excess noise as possible. When speaking to patients, do so in a quiet and soft voice. Play their favorite music on a low volume to help entertain them while drowning out other noises they may find frightful.
- Increase Calmness – As we all can attest, when you have a calm disposition it’s difficult to become agitated or confused. However, most dementia patients have a difficult time maintaining this necessary mental state of calmness. Therefore, you must actively work to promote relaxation and calmness by encouraging patients to sit int their favorite chair, providing them something soft to hold or playing a favorite song. Sometimes, simply speaking to the patient in a calm and relaxing voice is enough to increase their level of calm, which may help avoid moments of agitation or confusion.