Dementia UK offers free online course for nurses on supporting families and carers

Dementia UK | September 2020 | Dementia UK offers free online course for nurses on supporting families and carers

Working with Families and Dementia: An Introduction is an open-access, six-part module produced for registered nurses by Dementia UK.

This is an online introductory course designed for registered nurses who wish to find out more about the role of an Admiral Nurse and are considering a career in Admiral Nursing. This course will also be useful to Health and Social Care professionals who wish to find out more about the complexities when supporting families living with dementia.

It has been created by Dementia UK which is the charity that supports families facing dementia through the work of Admiral Nursing.

Admiral Nurses work with families and the systems around them by taking a family and relationship focused approach (Source: Dementia UK)

Full details available from Dementia UK

Updated Coronavirus information for families looking after someone with dementia

Dementia UK are constantly updating the coronavirus hub on their website. Visit it to read the latest advice from dementia specialist Admiral Nurses, including the list of frequently asked questions coming through to the Dementia UK Helpline.

Coronavirus: advice for families looking after someone with dementia
The current government advice is for everyone over age 70 or with other health conditions to stay at home for up to 16 weeks. This does not specifically include people with dementia; but if the person you care for has other health considerations, or is in any way vulnerable, you might decide to follow this advice.  Full detail here

Coronavirus: questions and answers
Dementia UK have put together a list of commonly asked questions totheir Helpline, which will be updated as and when the situation develops. Full detail here

Leaflets and information
Information, blogs and ideas for people living with dementia during this time. Full detail here

Sundowning (changes in behaviour at dusk)

As the clocks go back this weekend, and with evenings becoming darker earlier, Helen Green who works on Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline talks about how she united one family troubled by sundowning 

Sundowning is a term used for the changes in behaviour that occur in the evening, around dusk. Some people who have been diagnosed with dementia experience a growing sense of agitation or anxiety at this time.

Sundowning symptoms might include a compelling sense that they are in the wrong place. The person with dementia might say they need to go home, even if they are home; or that they need to pick the children up, even if that is not the case. Other symptoms might include shouting or arguing, pacing, or becoming confused about who people are or what’s going on.

This article at Dementia UK explains how the Dementia Helpline supported one family troubled by sundowning

See also Dementia UK’s leaflet on Good habits for bedtime

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Practical tips on preventing sundowning

  • Follow a routine during the day that contains activities the person enjoys
  • Going outside for a walk or visiting some shops is good exercise
  • Limit the person’s intake of caffeinated drinks. Consider stopping the person from drinking alcohol altogether. Caffeine-free tea, coffee and cola are available, as is alcohol-free beer and wine
  • Try and limit the person’s naps during the day to encourage them to sleep well at night instead
  • Close the curtains and turn the lights on before dusk begins, to ease the transition into nighttime
  • If possible, cover mirrors or glass doors. Reflections can be confusing for someone with dementia
  • Once you are in for the evening, speak in short sentences and give simple instructions to the person, to try and limit their confusion
  • Avoid large meals in the evening as this can disrupt sleep patterns
  • Introduce an evening routine with activities the person enjoys, such as: watching a favourite programme, listening to music, stroking a pet etc. However, try to keep television or radio stations set to something calming and relatively quiet—sudden loud noises or people shouting can be distressing for a person with dementia.

Eating and drinking for a person with dementia

Helping a person with dementia to maintain a healthy diet can be difficult
for the people caring for them. This leaflet aims to provide some positive
tips on ways to help | Dementia UK

People with dementia may experience problems with eating and drinking.
There are many reasons this might happen. They might:

  • forget to eat
  • experience difficulties preparing food
  • have difficulty recognising food items
  • have a change in appetite or taste

eating dementia
Image source: http://www.dementiauk.org

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for a person’s physical and mental health. Not eating and drinking enough can increase the risk of dehydration, weight loss, a urinary tract infection and constipation. These health problems can be particularly problematic for someone with dementia as they can increase confusion and the risks of delirium, and sometimes make the symptoms of dementia worse.

This leaflet from Dementia UK provides useful tips on the following:

  • Setting the scene for mealtimes
  • Encouraging a person with dementia to eat
  • Encouraging a person with dementia to drink
  • Stocking up and storing food
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Swallowing

Full resource: Eating and drinking: Staying well with dementia

Related:   ‘Eating and Drinking Well: Supporting People Living with Dementia’ |Bournemouth University

Dementia UK: ‘Together again’

Dementia UK have created a short animated film to show the differences Admiral nurses make in bringing families affected by dementia together again, even for the briefest of moments.

This animation explores those feelings of being lost in dementia – and how the support and guidance of an Admiral Nurse can help bring people back together again.

 

More about Dementia UK and the Admiral Nurse Service available here