“We have to rally together to push this issue forward so all health professionals have more education about cognitive assessments, learning how to look for indicators of dementia so that we can get the right services, supports, and recommendations in place for our elders who have dementia.”
In a new video, Kim Warchol, OTR/L, president and founder of Dementia Care Specialists (DCS), urges the importance of care providers receiving training in performing cognitive assessments. When health care professionals such as nurses, therapists, and aides know how to assess a person’s cognitive level, they can adjust their approach to focus on the person’s abilities—and help him stay safe, avoid accidents, and experience joy and quality of life.
Learn how the Dementia Capable Care
training program can equip you with skills to better assist your clients—and to find more satisfaction in your job.
So just continuing with that story a little bit—that I was sharing about my loved one.
Luckily for my family member, he didn't fall in the hospital, but he did fall as soon as he returned home to his house after he was discharged.
And it goes back to the same thing—you know, there was a recipe for a problem here that could have been avoided if he had had a better cognitive assessment and supports set up at his home. So he was discharged with this mild or early stage dementia, so he has impaired reasoning and impaired memory as a result of that—and then he has weakness due to his medical procedure that made him at risk for falls, and then he also had these new procedures that he needed to be following, like using a cane and carrying his catheter bag, so walking, and getting up and moving around the house, wasn't as automatic as it used to be.
He now had to think about, "Before I get up, I need to take this catheter bag; I need to take my cane because my legs are weak and I'm at risk for a fall,” but his memory is impaired; his judgment and reasoning are impaired from this mild dementia.
So he gets sent home, and that very first night, he falls.
Now luckily he didn't have an injury, but even after the nurses came out to his home to assess him, they still didn't really rush to do any kind of a cognitive assessment and evaluate his real needs and get the support services in there that he needed to be safe.
So I worked with his other family members and advised on getting physical therapy in there and how to get him the right support and supervision so that he would not have the risk of falling again.
So just again, it's so complicated, but it gets back to when our elders are experiencing medical challenges and changes and being moved around from environment to environment like home to a hospital or a hospital to a rehab center, this is a recipe for disaster if we don't really understand someone's cognitive ability, what abilities they have to learn new things, new procedures, how to use a cane, what their judgment is, what their memory is, if we’re not assessing that piece and putting in the right support mechanisms, problems will happen during these health crisis issues. And I believe so much of it could be avoided if we had better cognitive assessments and therefore more realistic support systems and support services set up in advance.
So that's a little bit about the story of my loved one, and again I just think we have to rally together to try to push this issue forward for all health professionals having more education around cognitive assessment, looking for indicators of dementia so that we can get the right services, and support, and recommendations in place for our elders who do have a dementia process going on.
So, thank you for your partnership in trying to move this important mission forward. Have a good day.