According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 47.5 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. This number is set to skyrocket with the increasing elderly population. Providing first aid for patients with dementia can be challenging and it’s important to remember no two people with dementia are the same, so here’s a few our our top tips for helping someone.
- Try not to assume the person with dementia can remember anything. Dementia is progressive, this means that they may be at the very start of their condition and their memory is barely affected. If you are not a family member or carer, you wouldn’t even notice anything was wrong, or they could have another form of dementia that doesn’t affect their memory yet at all.
- Just because they’re a little confused doesn’t mean they can’t consent to treatment. Always explain to them what you would like to do, and if necessary repeat it. They may forget how to perform simple tasks such as using an inhaler or using a phone and need help to do so.
- Make sure that if a carer or loved one is with them, that they stay there with you whilst you are providing treatment. This is in case the patient with dementia does struggle to remember things, or has difficulty communicating. Patients with severe dementia can get agitated and frustrated with their condition so having someone who knows them with you can help.
- If you are concerned, call for help. If they are on their own and you are worried about their well being, or someone seems confused and you don’t know for definite it’s dementia, call for help. There are other illness that can cause confusion such as head injuries, strokes or severe infections.
- Try to be calm and relaxed. Patients suffering from dementia can feel very frightened and scared if they are confused. Keep the environment around them calming, removing loud noises. Don’t pressure them or draw attention to the fact they can’t remember something. Anxiety can make their confusion worse. Instead move on to talk about something else and ask them again later.
Over the past 4 weeks, the Training and Development Facilitator at Livewell has conducted First Aid level 1 training for the entire permanent staff at the Somerset West and Bryanston Villages, in order to ensure we are well prepared and equipped for any emergency at our premises.