What is working with Alzheimers pts like?

  1. I have interview this afternoon with an assisted living facility very nice
    ration is 1:7 with patients having varying degrees of Alzheimers.
    What is this type of nursing like and why is ration low compared to other assisted living facilities ? Thank you!
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   TruDivaRN
    I have worked with Alzheimers residents for the past 8 years. Let me tell you it takes patience. They tend to get aggitated very easily and can become combative. Each resident is different, you will have good days as well as bad days.
  4. by   blueskye2008
    I have 5 months of experience working with Alzheimers pts. It wasn't enough time to actually be an expert with these pts. but I did learn the importance of compassion, patience and understanding of their situation and everyday life as well as their past. It takes some time to communicate and have a little conversation because depending on the stages of their disease asking question might be difficult and their understanding might be limited. The main thing to consider and do for your patient is to spend some time to get to know them in order to have a better care for them. Get them involve in the facilities' activities and reminiscence therapy. Be sensitive with their emotions and actions. It takes a big deal of patience to work with them so be patient!
  5. by   Kashia
    Thank you all, My interview has been rescheduled for tomorrow. Patience and compassion. thank you.
  6. by   bethin
    And don't forget about sundowner's. Some people say it's bogus, but I'm not sure. I've seen many, many pts who are nice, cheerful albeit confused during the day turn into combative, swearing, "you're going to hell" patients at night.

    I worked in a locked down unit where the ratio was horrible (2 aides, 30+pts). Men urinating in corners, residents cussing, hitting other residents. It takes ALOT of patience. I realized I was not cut out for that work and got a job on med/surg where it's the same thing. I worked 11p-7a one night (aide called in). It was just me in that locked unit. Guy ripped a door off the hinges. I was beyond scared. Three seperate units with 3 aides and ONE nurse for the whole building. Unsafe staffing, IMO.

    Make sure you look at pt/nurse ratios and what those ratios are at each shift. Night shift tends to get the worst ratios.
  7. by   RNfromMN
    Quote from SOON_2_BE_RN
    I have worked with Alzheimers residents for the past 8 years. Let me tell you it takes patience. .
    Amen to that. I would never let the Alzheimer's pts I take care of see it, but I become incredibly frustrated working with them...it's going to kill me as a nurse. (Where's the hanging-myself-with-a-noose smiley? Too morbid?) I don't mind the confusion, so much, or having the explain things over & over & over again...it's the restlnessness. To be more specific, the restlessness over toileting issues. Pts that tell you they have to get out of bed & go pee when they have a catheter in...so they just keep trying to get up & do it anyways...pts that "finger-paint" with their BMs...or just try to reach for anything when they have BM on their hands...that's what's most frustrating for me.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Working with Alzheimers patients is similar to working with very forgetful, combative toddlers and preschool children who are not toilet-trained.

    But, seriously, one of my demented 72 year old male patients was given a psych evaluation and was determined by the psychiatrist to have the approximate mental age of an 18 month old. My typical demented patients have mental ages of less than 4 years old.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Dec 6, '06
  9. by   JohnBearPA
    It takes patience, caring, and the ability to see the pt as a person. You'll have great days, you'll have miserable ( and I mean MISERABLE) days. You'll laugh, you'll cry. You'll want to scream, yell, carry on just like your pt's are, but you won't. You'll go home some nights feeling like you did nothing to make their lives more comfortable, and you'll also have days you go home KNOWING you made a difference. It takes a special person to work with alz, and I'm proud to say that this is the work I choose to do. If you see yourself in anything I wrote, this is the job for you too. Best of luck in whatever you choose!
    Last edit by JohnBearPA on Dec 7, '06 : Reason: I've gotta' learn to use spellcheck before i submit posts, LOL!
  10. by   meannana
    what's it like to work with alz pts.--------------frustrating, biggggggggg challange, fun.. heartbreaking, and not everyone can do it. But if you are one of the ones that can handle this job then go for it because it is sooooooooo very rewarding.
  11. by   GPatty
    I think it is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done, and I miss it terribly.
  12. by   Ginger222
    Quote from Jessica 392
    Amen to that. I would never let the Alzheimer's pts I take care of see it, but I become incredibly frustrated working with them...it's going to kill me as a nurse. (Where's the hanging-myself-with-a-noose smiley? Too morbid?) I don't mind the confusion, so much, or having the explain things over & over & over again...it's the restlnessness. To be more specific, the restlessness over toileting issues. Pts that tell you they have to get out of bed & go pee when they have a catheter in...so they just keep trying to get up & do it anyways...pts that "finger-paint" with their BMs...or just try to reach for anything when they have BM on their hands...that's what's most frustrating for me.
    AMEN to everything you said...and yes where is that smiley? I have been working in Alzeimer's Lock Down Unit for the past two years and I am frustrated too!! I love them all dearly but it is starting to get to me..I have a great deal of patience but they are running thin lately...maybe it is just time to move on....
  13. by   st4wb3rr33sh0rtc4k3
    Quote from JohnBearPA
    It takes patience, caring, and the ability to see the pt as a person. You'll have great days, you'll have miserable ( and I mean MISERABLE) days. You'll laugh, you'll cry. You'll want to scream, yell, carry on just like your pt's are, but you won't. You'll go home some nights feeling like you did nothing to make their lives more comfortable, and you'll also have days you go home KNOWING you made a difference. It takes a special person to work with alz, and I'm proud to say that this is the work I choose to do. If you see yourself in anything I wrote, this is the job for you too. Best of luck in whatever you choose!
    Although, it can be stressful... I must say it there have been some comical moments and fun times with the residents... Never thought I would enjoy it so much... :spin:

    Don't think I will ever leave it. But, I do want to get into other nursing experiences and specialties...
  14. by   HeatherLPN
    You need to get to know their quirks--what sets them off, what calms them down, ect. They get confused with time, so if they want coffee at 2 am, it doesn't hurt to get it for them. If someone is restless and your aides have time (we are well staffed), let them have shower in the middle of the night. Don't argue with them, b/c they can become VERY combative. If you have a few minutes, get to know them by having a cup of tea with them if they are up late. Get to know their families so that you can discuss grandkids, pictures, ect with the residents.

    And if necessary, don't be afraid to use your PRN's.

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