02 Dementia

How might we improve the life of alzheimer patients and their relatives?

Dementia is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer is the largest sub-group of this diagnostic area.  In Denmark there are about 45.000 with Alzheimer, and the number is increasing

Hospital environments can be disorientating and frightening for a person with dementia and may make them more confused than usual.

This case focuses on the patient path from home to the hospital, and you will work together with Odense municipality and OUH.

Case

This case focuses on Alzheimer – the largest group under the diagnostic category dementia.

What is it? Please have a look at the film:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wv9jrk-gXc    (Source: Alzheimer Association, USA)

People suffering from Alzheimer are, as other patients, admitted to the hospital for somatic diagnostic and treatment This case focuses on the medical patient with Alzheimer, i.e. infections, treated in the Geriatric ward at OUH.

Alzheimer patients lose their everyday life skills, such as eating and drinking, sleeping and personal hygiene, leading to a lower immune response.

As you have seen in the film above, the Alzheimer patient does not always understand the world around him/her. Often they get frightened and maybe aggressive, when the health care professionals try to do tests to find the right diagnosis, and often they do not succeed, because the patient cannot cooperate. Going to the hospital they are placed in an ambulance, then they arrive to the receiving area in FAM/OUH, and thereafter they are admitted to the Geriatric ward, but maybe even more tests needed to be performed beforehand.

The whole path from the home to the Geriatric ward can potentially be very traumatic for both the patient, the relatives and the healthcare professionals. It can be frightening for the relatives to see their father or mother in such a state of fear and despair.

Case owners:

  • OUH: Jette Wensien, Helle Lind og Sanne Beck
  • Odense kommune: Helle Andersen og Elsebeth Kjærgård
  • Virksomhed: Izinga ved Jannick Toftegaard

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