According to research published in Medical Care Research and Review, more than two thirds of people living in aged care facilities have a mental health diagnosis that isn’t dementia, meaning whether you’re a clinician, patient or patients loved one, broader understanding of mental health may go a long way towards assisting care providers in achieving continuous patient-centered care.
Supporting older people through grief
It is important to understand and address triggering factors that can affect a person’s mental health – such as grief, to mitigate longer term negative outcomes. In life, grief is inevitable and experience of this becomes more likely as people age so essential those in aged care receive the right support. According to research published in The Gerontologist, simple measures such as group counselling or one-to-one talking therapies, have shown evidence of lessening its effects.
Helping people maintain their identity through dementia
One of the biggest struggles a person with dementia suffers is a loss of identity, an idea posed in the Journals of Gerontology. The same article also suggests that helping patients revisit the identity roles they once knew may enhance their sense of wellbeing. The research has placed a focus on working with family members to discover what patients enjoyed and recreating those personal activities. Some aged care providers have initiated ‘The Front Door Project’ where a door motif is designed to go on the door to the resident’s room. The idea is for the door to act as a memory trigger for residents – often a similar design to the house they lived in whilst growing up assisting with orientation but also creates a more homely environment.
Creating care packages that work
When multidisciplinary teams meet to create care packages, they discuss various elements of a patient’s care to ensure treatment is specific for the individual. For example, as research published in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Health suggests, those who suffer from dementia often have complex needs that require input from several specialities. By receiving input from a range of clinical skillsets - from medical and nursing staff through to pharmaceutical teams – a patient centred care package is created.
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