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Assessing Quality of Life for Dementia Patients

There is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, so treatment is usually focused on improving the patient’s quality of life. Assessing the quality of life for these patients is not always easy. Because of their condition, patients are not always able to accurately describe their quality of life. This is further complicated by the fact that not everyone agrees on what should be measured in quality of life. Patients, caretakers, and loved ones may all have different criteria, which can lead to arguments over the best way to care for the patient.

In a 2017 study, researchers found that patients tend to rate their quality of life better than their caregivers did. This is partly because the caretaker’s assessment is based on clinical/health measures, while the patients assess themselves in broader terms.

Things to Consider When Assessing Quality of Life

Ultimately, the goal of assessing quality of life should be to ensure that the patient is living comfortably with as little pain, distress, and confusion as possible.

The following factors should be considered when assessing quality of life for patients with dementia:

  • Physical and mental health – Can the patient move without pain? Is the patient frequently overcome by feelings of stress or fear? These are just a few of the questions that should be considered when assessing quality of life.
  • Staying occupied – What does the patient’s typical day look like? People with dementia often benefit from steady routines that keep them moving and provide an opportunity to socialize with others.
  • Home environment – Patients with dementia have a hard time living in chaotic settings where things change frequently. Even small changes like replacing bed sheets with new ones can be confusing for them. A stable, safe environment is critical for quality of life.
  • Cleaning & Hygiene – It can be difficult to clean up after yourself or take care of basic needs like bathing or brushing your teeth when you have dementia. Patients usually need someone to oversee their schedules and make sure they perform these activities. This may require assisting them. It’s also important that patients have a clean environment, and will likely need someone to pick up after them.
  • Socializing – Having a chance to express their thoughts and carry out a conversation is important for patients with dementia. Even if patients can’t remember what happened within the last hour, they usually can provide detailed accounts of older memories, which often provides a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.
  • Respect – People with dementia may have a hard time completing simple tasks and sometimes have childish outbursts, but they are still adults. They can often tell when someone is condescending to them and grow annoyed if they are frequently corrected when they get names or dates wrong. Being treated with respect and compassion is important for their wellbeing and quality of life.

These are just a few of the things that should be considered when assessing a patient’s quality of life.

At Home Healthcare is committed to providing patients with the best quality of life possible. Contact us today to learn more.

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