Home nursing can be challenging because you have to work with a wide range of patients, many of whom are struggling with several mental and physical health issues. In New York, home nursing jobs often involve caring for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Today, we’ll have a closer look at how you can improve the quality of life of people in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens who have dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Home Nursing Jobs in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens: 8 Tips for Caring for New York Patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
1. Know the Symptoms and Warning Signs
Before being able to care for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia effectively, you need to be able to recognize the warning signs. People who suffer from dementia often have a poor short-term memory, trouble with judgment and decision-making, and mood and personality shifts. They might struggle to complete their regular tasks. Those with Alzheimer’s tend to lose track of time and dates, and they have trouble even getting to familiar places.
They also find planning ahead and solving problems very difficult, and they struggle with balance, spatial relationships, writing, and speaking. As soon as you notice these symptoms, speak to your managers. They will get in touch with your patient’s family members and doctors to make sure the elderly person gets the help they need.
2. Communicate in a Calm Way
Communication with patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s can be tough. They might have trouble comprehending or responding to what you’re saying, and they might get upset as a result. Make sure your interactions are direct and that there are no distractions. Maintain eye contact and focus all your attention on the patient. Keep your questions clear and simple. Often, questions that require a yes-no answer are best.
When the patient makes a mistake or is unsure how to answer, they might feel embarrassed or upset. Be patient and offer assurance. If necessary, repeat your question or change the phrasing, so the patient can understand more easily. Never interrupt or argue with people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s because this can make them feel stressed and upset.
3. Establish a Routine
Dementia typically affects the person’s short-term memory, so they don’t remember things that happened in the last weeks. That’s why patients thrive on a routine that remains the same for many months. At Parent Care, we help our nurses and home health aides to come up with a comprehensive care plan for their patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This reduces stress and prevents elderly people from becoming confused and disorientated.
Most care plans specify when the patient gets up and goes to bed and the order in which home health tasks are completed. The plans might also include activities that help patients to connect to their pre-dementia lives, like watching a favorite TV program or going shopping. Although the goal of a care plan is to achieve consistency, it has to be re-evaluated every few months because the patient’s needs might change.
4. Remain Flexible
Routine is important, but the care plan shouldn’t be rigid. Patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s often have good and bad days, so most home nursing jobs involve adjusting the schedule and bedside manner to suit the patient’s needs. Sometimes, elderly people with dementia lose their sense of reality, which makes it challenging for their nurses to stick to the care plan.
Another common issue is recurring requests. Dementia patients might not remember what happened the day before or even several hours ago, so they repeatedly request the same food, piece of clothing, or activity. Going along with the patient’s request is often a good idea as long as there are no safety concerns.
5. Prioritize Safety
Patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s require very safe environments because they often misjudge situations and are no longer able to problem-solve effectively. Lock away dangerous items and prescription drugs, so the patient doesn’t accidentally hurt themselves or take too much medication. Keep flammable items like matches and lighters in an inaccessible location.
Many Alzheimer’s patients struggle with coordination and balance, so they’re more likely to fall than others in their age group. That’s why their New York homes have to be adapted. Place anti-slip mats on slippery surfaces, install handrails in strategic places, and put away any items that could trip up the patient. If possible, ask them to wear a personal alarm so they can get help quickly if they fall or hurt themselves.
6. Pay Close Attention to the Patient’s Nutrition
Good nutrition can be challenging for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, it’s very important because vitamins and minerals strengthen the body and help patients to retain their energy. Limit foods that contain a lot of sugar, fat, and cholesterol. Offer patients a wide range of healthy options. If you’re not sure what they like to eat, consult their families and other healthcare providers they’ve worked with.
Check which factors are contributing to the person’s lack of appetite. Maybe their dentures don’t fit properly, so they have trouble chewing. Alternatively, they might not recognize foods they used to enjoy, or new medications might change their appetite. Sometimes, patients don’t feel hungry because they haven’t exercised enough. Encourage them to go for walks, do light housework, or perform a simple exercise routine with you.
7. Reduce Frustrations
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens frequently feel frustrated because they struggle with their sense of reality and decision-making. You can do several things to minimize frustrations. Firstly, limit the choices you give your patient. Ask them to choose between two outfits or to decide whether they would like a hot or cold beverage. This makes them feel autonomous without overwhelming them.
Secondly, take your time and involve the patient as much as possible. Don’t rush through tasks. Instead, schedule enough time, and allow the patient to take breaks when they need to. Help them to remain as independent as possible. You might lay out their clothes in the right order, so they can get dressed independently, or you might encourage them to help you set the table. Finally, limit prolonged naps to reduce the risk of getting days and nights confused.
8. Make Sure You Have a Good Support System
Working with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia can be extremely challenging. That’s why you need a good support system. A great way to reduce stress is to work with a nursing organization like Parent Care. Because we understand that nursing is tough, we emphasize good communication and reasonable working hours. When you work with us, you’re never alone because our friendly team is here to help you if you run into problems.
Make sure you get enough downtime outside of work. Pursue one or two hobbies, and spend time with your family and friends. Let your loved ones know that you’re dealing with a challenging situation at work, so they can support you. If you’re worried about your mental health, reach out to a therapist. They will help you work through difficult emotions and build up important coping strategies.
Caring for New York residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s can be hard. You have to communicate calmly, establish a routine, remain flexible, and pay close attention to the patient’s safety. Call us at Parent Care to find out more about home nursing jobs in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. We offer all our nurses and aides high salaries and good benefits.