What is working with Alzheimers pts like? - page 2
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... Read More
Dec 19, '06Occupation: RN Specialty: 26 year(s) of experience in geriatric, hospice, med/surg ; From: US ; Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 601; Likes: 40Get use to blocking things from the route of auditory/cranial to protect YOUR sanity! They are precious "big babies" (don't mean to sound disrespectful here, but don't know of any other way to describe them in a nutshell..., please, no flaming for this reference!).
I had one particular gentleman who would repeatedly ask for ice cream, coffee, butterscotch candy, over and over and when I had my med cart parked near his room and he could see me, it would be at least 5 to 7 minutes or so before I'd be moving along beyond his line of vision so I wouldn't be assaulted by his repetitive questions/commands! It was so nerve wracking. I couldn't work with an entire unit of alzies! They are precious and my heart goes out to them as well as anyone who can tolerate the repetition of their "conversation"...if they converse, that is. Some don't. And yes, they are quite combative at that stage in their disease process...can be extremely difficult to even get their showers/hygiene care done! Good luck if you take the position.
Dec 19, '06Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 51; Likes: 1It requires a ton of patience and tolerance. I worked in a lock down alzheimers unit as a CNA and I quickly discovered I didn't have what it takes to care for them. I am incredibly patient and am extremely tolerant of people and don't mind the confusion or irratibility. It happens. What bothered me was the combativeness.....taking 4 to 6 staff members to toilet someone or change their attends all the while getting hit and kicked, always having to look over your shoulder to make sure your not about to get hit, etc. It definitely requires a special type of person to care for the alzheimer patient....
Dec 19, '06Occupation: RN-cardiopulmonary Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 39; Likes: 3I have worked with Alzheimer's patients for 8 years now and I love it. I don't mind the frustrating times as much because I know that I did my best to make their last days as good as possible. I can't seem to handle the full time five days in a row thing much anymore, I get frustrated like others have said. But you have those good moments when they say, "I know you." Or my favorite is, "Thank you so much for helping me." Because even though they have "memory problems" they still realize (sometimes) you are there to help. I think it is really rewarding.
Dec 29, '06Occupation: Working toward CNA License Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 27; Likes: 3Quote from bethinYou sure you don't work at my facility? Same thing has happened to me. Been in the locked unit by myself with over 30 residents. Scary situation.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.
Let me tell you though, I do like working that unit. I didn't think I would, but I do. I have one resident who used to be a handy man. Sometimes he'll get up in the night and "fix" something. One morning he pulled the cord in his bathroom. I went in and he was smoothing the wall. He said "see how smooth this wall is, I just finished it." "Beautiful job," I told him "You must be tired from doing all this work, how about we get some rest now?"
Every resident is different. I don't talk loudly unless they have a hearing problem. I speak softly and tell them what we are doing or what I am assisting them with. Sometimes they think they are someplace else so I just try to go with the flow and not argue with them.