Health Care Settings for Older Adults
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias may result in a patient’s inability to care for themselves and may put their lives in danger. As such, contrary to popular belief, living in a nursing home is a much safer alternative for the patients.
As the charge nurse, I would address safety issues first. I would explain to Suzanne that leaving her mother at home with no professional care may put her mother’s life in danger. Suzanne cannot stay with her mother around the clock, and even if she could, she could not provide the type of care required for her mother. In a nursing home, there are trained medical personnel available 24/7, and her mother will be in a safe environment. I would reiterate to Suzanne that a nursing home is a safe healthcare setting, and not going with this option will put her mother’s life in danger. As such, she should not feel guilty for choosing the safest option for her mother.
To further alleviate Suzanne’s safety concerns, I would explain that the authorities conduct regular inspections of such medical facilities. Besides, Suzanne would still be able to visit her mother as often as she would like. Moreover, such visits are encouraged, since family involvement results in better cognitive and functional outcomes of patients in nursing homes (Jablonski, Reed, & Maas, 2005, p. 38). I would also mention the fact that nursing homes provide a social environment where her mother will be able to socialize with her peers and find new friends, which is impossible if she is held captive at Suzanne’s home.
The main points of my education to assist Suzanne would be my knowledge of Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their symptoms and risk factors, as well as my knowledge of current standards of care provided in nursing homes.
Elder Abuse and Neglect
The elderly often become the targets of abuse, including at home. Neglect may also result in physical and psychological traumas and is especially dangerous for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias due to their limited ability to care for themselves (Tilly & Reed, 2006).
From the information provided in the scenario, it is impossible to conclude whether the elderly woman is the victim of abuse or neglect. It is necessary to assess to evaluate the woman’s current cognitive abilities. Her grandson should not be allowed during the assessment and a nurse should ask specific questions to determine if the woman is the victim of abuse.
If the woman indeed had an Alzheimer’s disease, I would establish effective communication and explain to the woman and her grandson that she requires continuous professional care. I would explain that certain risk factors currently put the woman’s life in danger. Unsafe wandering around the house may result in severe damage to her health or worse. Specially trained medical personnel are required to provide the type of continuous care which may improve or slow down the deterioration of cognitive abilities.
A nursing home is the safest option since it protects patients from potential harm by providing a safe environment. If the woman stays at home, she should be provided with over-the-clock care and specific measures are to be taken to limit access to those parts of the house which may prove dangerous. With protective measures in place, I would encourage providing the women with as much independence as possible.
Jablonski, R., Reed, D., & Maas, M. (2005). Care intervention for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias: effect of family involvement on cognitive and functional outcomes in nursing homes. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 31(6), 38-48. Web.
Tilly, J. & Reed, P. Falls, Wandering, and Physical Restraints: Interventions for Residents with Dementia in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes. Web.