Alzheimer’s disease is among the most widespread forms of cognitive impairments impacting older adults’ quality of life and success in everyday tasks. The needs of patients with this diagnosis require close attention since gradual mental changes increase the risks of accidents and unintentional injuries. Utilizing the interview with K. L., this paper explores the care needs of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and proposes interventions applicable to the case.
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Identified Support Needs and Appropriate Care Interventions
Despite the absence of severe problems at the moment, K. L. may require exceptional help due to various factors, such as his advanced age, joint pains, and Alzheimer’s disease. The first support need that can be singled out, in this case, is assistance in taking drugs in the proper dosages and regularly. Since the patient faces challenges when he is supposed to memorize some things, unintentional medication mistakes can inflict serious health issues.
The following need is timely help with different activities that involve physical and mental mobilization (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2018). Due to the listed health factors, the patient faces the risks of injuries, and it would be better for him to engage in his hobbies under supervision. As for the third support need to be met, K. L. forgets essential information from time to time, and some activities are required to help him to cope with stress. Therefore, the interviewee’s needs related to both physical and mental aspects of well-being.
In the absence of permanent assistance from the man’s relatives, professional caregivers in Alzheimer’s care facilities can implement a number of interventions to meet his needs. First of all, they can be responsible for planning the medication administration procedures, thus preventing errors and accidental overdose. More than that, to deal with such patients, nurses can supervise them during the execution of tasks that the clients find physically demanding (Borson et al., 2016). Finally, to reduce psychological stress, nurses or other professionals can help the patient to create a daily routine to avoid overloading him with excessive new information (Borson et al., 2016; CDC, 2018). The listed interventions will improve the client’s quality of life and address the risks of injuries.
HP2020 Objectives and Nursing Professionals’ Roles as Advocates
The interviewee’s health is related to multiple objectives peculiar to Healthy People 2020 topics. To begin with, care interventions needed in this case will allow implementing such objectives as DIA-1 and DIA-2 (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [ODPHP], 2019a). DIA-1 involves increasing the proportion of older adults with Alzheimer’s whose caregivers are fully aware of their diagnosis (ODPHP, 2019a).
To achieve the goal, it is possible to educate the patient’s current caregiver on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the way it affects cognitive processes, and the proper organization of daily plans. As for DIA-2, reductions in preventable hospitalizations in seniors with the disease, this objective can also be implemented by means of education (ODPHP, 2019a). For instance, caregiver education focused on the prevention of home accidents due to distraction and memory problems will allow avoiding injuries.
The third HP2020 objective that is linked to the interviewee’s health issues relates to a broad healthcare topic such as the problems of seniors. The aim with the code OA-6 is focused on increasing the number of older adults who live an active life despite the presence of cognitive or physical impairments (ODPHP, 2019b). To meet the objective, it is pivotal to instruct the caregiver and the patient on injury prevention and the principles of physical exercise planning for seniors.
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Nursing professionals’ efforts can predict the patient’s acceptance of his diagnosis and the willingness to implement all recommendations. The first role that nurses play in the process is acting as intermediaries between physicians and patients. Although doctors are trained in medical ethics, nurses can present some things about patients’ conditions in a practical and understandable way. Next, nurses act as advocates when they provide patient education, thus helping their clients to recognize their responsibility for the outcomes of treatment. Finally, when providing nursing care, these specialists encourage people to create healthier habits, which positively impacts patient outcomes.
Environment and Social Determinants
Apart from the diagnosis itself, the interviewee’s health is impacted by some factors related to the environment. To begin with, the patient does not go out very often since his social circle is limited. Moreover, his sister is the only person who lives with him, and he still faces health risks when she is not at home. In addition, the factor that involves potential threats to the client’s well-being is his children’s rare visits to his house. Being deprived of his son’s attention, he is likely to develop mental pain and feels abandoned.
To continue, the man’s well-being and support needs are impacted by social determinants of health. As for the first and the second determinants, his current conditions are shaped by health literacy and social cohesion (ODPHP, 2019c). The client does not communicate with others too often, and his knowledge about the diagnosis and activity restrictions may need to be improved. Also, this man’s situation is probably impacted by environmental conditions, contributing to his anxiety and sleep-wake cycle irregularities.
To sum up, even though the interviewed man claims that his sister’s help is enough, there are ways to improve his health. His current support needs include assistance in the use of drugs, physical activity, and information processing in everyday life. In the case of unfavorable circumstances, he can be placed in the nursing home to receive services related to the intake of medications, safe physical activity, and systematic planning.
Borson, S., Boustani, M. A., Buckwalter, K. C., Burgio, L. D., Chodosh, J., Fortinsky, R. H.,… Phillips, C. (2016). Report on milestones for care and support under the US National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 12(3), 334-369.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Helping Alzheimer’s caregivers. Web.
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2019a). Dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease. Web.
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2019b). Older adults. Web.
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2019c). Social determinants of health. Web.