Concerning Mr. M’s primary diagnosis, Alzheimer’s (AD) is the most likely option that should be considered in the patient’s further treatment and family education. Typical symptoms of the disease include memory loss, which is evidenced in the patient having issues recalling the names of his family members, his room number, or re-reading the information that he has already read (Alzheimer’s Association, 2020). In addition, Alzheimer’s is characterized by changes in mood and personality, and Mr. M has been reported to become agitated and aggressive quickly, which makes him fearful and afraid. He gets lost easily and has gotten increasingly dependent on others with many activities of daily living even though he was able to dress, bathe, and feed himself several months prior.
The secondary diagnosis is dementia, which refers to the collection of symptoms that result from the damage to the brain, such as Alzheimer’s, and they may vary but align with those that the patient has been experiencing. Common symptoms of dementia also include memory loss, issues concentrating, mood changes, confusing time and place, and difficulty carrying out familiar tasks. However, Alzheimer’s is more likely because Mr. M forgets the names of his family members and is becoming more and more withdrawn from his daily life.
During the nursing assessment, the patient is expected to exhibit several abnormalities that may support his primary diagnosis. The decline in both memory and non-memory aspects of cognition will be found. Mr. M may have issues with word-finding, vision and spatial problems, as well as impaired reasoning or judgment. It is also essential to consider the patient’s medical history, such as hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, due to the possible connections between metabolic and cardiovascular issues and the increased likelihood of patients developing Alzheimer’s in older age (Alzheimer’s Association, 2020). Due to the rapid deterioration of Mr. M’s overall well-being over the course of a few months, the progression of the adverse symptoms is a negative sign that points to the need for an intervention.
Mr. M suffers from physical, psychological, and emotional effects that adversely impact his health specifically as well as his family. According to the study by Grabher (2018), once a patient gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they will experience stress that leads to both physical and emotional issues. The stress may be related to the fears about forgetting their loved ones, becoming a burden to their relatives, losing independence, and not being able to take care of themselves. Stress further contributes to negative physical issues, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Because the patient has a history of hypertension controlled by ACE inhibitors, it is essential that the patient does not experience too much stress to avoid exacerbating the problem.
For Mr. M’s family, caring for him creates emotional stress even though the individual is being taken care of in a facility. Grabher (2018) suggests that many caregivers feel guilty and emotionally distressed when their relatives are being admitted to a facility. Family members of patients with Alzheimer’s can experience “sadness, discouragement, aloneness, anger, and hope, as well as fatigue and depression” (Grabher, 2018). Such feelings are burdening to caregivers because they have to deal with the emotional challenge of caring for their relatives while also maintaining psychological health and maintaining a positive attitude toward recovery.
Since Alzheimer’s is irreversible, a preventive and managing intervention is recommended. The caregivers and the family must avoid confrontations with the patient that may lead to frustration and emotional distress. In case if Mr. M becomes aggressive and upset, his caretakers should be calm and supportive, with the maintenance of a consistent and safe environment. To reorient the patient, he should be provided frequent cues and reminders to reorient him. Furthermore, the expectations for the patient should be readjusted as he declines in memory and capacity. The key to a successful intervention is creating a positive and supportive setting for Mr. M to encourage as much independence as possible and allow enough room to allow him to perform tasks calmly.
The potential issues associated with Alzheimer’s can further deteriorate the health of the patient. Blood circulation problems are likely to occur due to the patient’s history and because patients with AD are more likely to have hypertension than the rest of the population (NIH, 2017). Mr. M’s body temperature, based on objective data, is increased by 0.5 compared to the norm, and it is crucial to ensure that he does not get flu or pneumonia because of the risks of comorbidities in older patients with AD (NIH, 2017). Another potential issue is the increased likelihood of falls, which are dangerous in individuals aged 70. The risk of falls increases as Alzheimer’s deteriorates, and the person may have issues walking and keeping their balance, and the changes in the depth of perception can hinder the capacity of understanding distances (NIH, 2017). The final potential problem that Mr. M may face is the further deterioration of his health. The AD can progress and damage the brain, leading to the complete loss of memory, thinking, and other functions of the brain.
Alzheimer’s Association. (2020). 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Grabher, B. (2018). Effects of Alzheimer disease on patients and their family. Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology, 46(4), 335-340.
NIH. (2017). Alzheimer’s disease: Common medical problems.