Dementia is a physical disease which presents itself by changing the patient’s cognitive abilities and alters behavior. The disease is a progressive disorder that can cause problematic behaviors, lead to dependence for care, and finally cause death. Nurses must be able to assist families in managing the changes which occur in an older adult with dementia. Strategies to assist families in choosing the direction of care for their family member with dementia will be presented. This presentation will also discuss the stages of dementia, what to expect, and the many ethical issues to consider including end-of-life decisions.
Lisa Byrd, PhD, FNP-BC, GNP-BC, Gerontologist, is an expert in caring for older adults and a seasoned Certified Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner. She treats numerous patients in nursing homes, an outpatient clinic, and hospital inpatient settings.
A brief review of the ethical considerations in caring for older adults with dementia will be presented. A review of the patient’s rights will be presented along with a discussion on the ethics of care in these patients.
There are many issues caregivers must face when providing care of the older adult with dementia. Self-harm from falls or aggressive behaviors occur, and caregivers should be aware of the ethical issues involved to avoid use of restraints but also prevent falls and problematic behaviors in these individuals. This chapter will present a brief discussion of these issues.
End-of-life care must be addressed when caring for older adults with a chronic disease such as dementia. This chapter will review advance directives, how to approach discussions with the individual and families, ways to identify decisions in care, and when to pursue palliative and/or hospice care.