If your loved one suffering from Dementia is hospitalized for further treatment in a hospital, your role as a CareGiver or Attender is very important. Here are a few pointers you should keep in mind:
- Keep to the bedside of the patient except when times when you have to pop into the pharmacy or canteen. It’s better you inform the Nurse on duty when you will be away for a few minutes. The patient may be only used to your presence and not strangers. You will have to gently explain why he or she is at the hospital and reassure that all is well. Patients with Dementia may not be able to express themselves so you will have to watch out for signals like pain and discomfort. Meal times may get difficult and your familiar presence might help the patient eat a good meal.
- The staff on duty might not understand certain whims and fancies. The caregiver has to enlighten the nurse. For example, “He likes to listen to music to fall asleep” “She hates spinach”
- Make sure your loved ones spectacles, hearing aids, dentures, books and favourite pillow are packed and taken to the hospital. Sometimes the plate and glass too. Familiar things used at home taken to the hospital will bring a sense of comfort to the patient.
- Make sure you understand all the new medications prescribed so that you can administer when you reach home.
- Make sure you ask all the necessary questions to the doctor and jot down every question and answer lest you forget. Do not hesitate to ask again if you do not understand anything. Clarity is very important. Dementia patients will not be listening to the doctor’s advice but you have to.
- It’s very important that the right dosage is given and no tablet is missed. So organize yourselves well before the patient gets discharged. Your hands will be full as soon as you reach home.
Good Luck! Pat yourself on your back, as you are doing tremendous service with so much of patience and love. Take time off at least for a couple of hours every week by hiring a substitute caregiver. You need this time off. You deserve it.