Module 8 - Mental and Physical Health
Assessment and Management of Dementia Medical conditions can produce symptoms that resemble dementia and it is important to undertake a thorough physical review of a person who presents with cognitive decline. This should include a hearing and sight test, routine blood tests, a review of medication and a review of mental health as illnesses like depression can also resemble dementia. It is also important to establish what the person is capable of so that appropriate supports can be put in place. The mainstay of management is providing additional support and supervision, similar to the managment of delirium but in the longer term. This may include maintaining familiar routines and adapting the environment so it is easier for the person to find their way around. As the dementia progresses, this may require that the person move into a more secure and supervised environment. Treating any additional medical and psychiatric conditions will be important and can prevent or help with behavioural problems. Sometimes medications can help with the symptoms of dementia but they cannot reverse the gradual decline in brain function. In the final stages the person may be bed bound and incontinent and require full nursing care.
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