What is the best way to assure safety and quality care in assisted living for dementia? The key is specialized dementia care. Frail elders with dementia are difficult enough to care for in general, and they often have subtle medical symptoms that can result in serious illness especially for diabetics. For example, a heart attack may seem to the caregiver to be only indigestion or some shortness of breath. If the elder has dementia they cannot communicate as adults are expected to, so it is crucial that the staff have the proper training for optimal care. One common example that I see are pressure ulcers due to sitting in one position in a wheelchair for over 2 hours- or 6 hours straight. There must also be more compassion for the care of these fragile people as opposed to completing tasks as if they were on a factory line. A discussion that needs to continue.
Elizabeth (Dr Liz) has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elders. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care Medicine. Dr Landsverk founded ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice, to address the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families.