Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it can occur before the age of 65, in which case it is termed early onset dementia.
Dementia is not a single disease, but rather a non-specific illness syndrome (i.e., set of signs and symptoms) in which affected areas of cognition may be memory, attention, language, and problem solving. It is normally required to be present for at least 6 months to be diagnosed; cognitive dysfunction that has been seen only over shorter times, in particular less than weeks, must be termed delirium. In all types of general cognitive dysfunction, higher mental functions are affected first in the process.
Nursing Interventions for Dementia
Nursing Diagnosis for Dementia
Risk for Injury related to cognitive impairment and wandering behavior
- Discuss restriction of driving when recommended.
- Assess patient’s home for safety: remove throw rugs, label rooms, and keep the house well lit.
- Assess community for safety.
- Alert neighbors about the patient’s wandering behavior.
- Alert police and have current pictures taken.
- Provide patient with a MedicAlert bracelet.
- Install complex safety locks on doors to outside or basement.
- Install safety bars in bathroom.
- Closely observe patient while he is smoking.
- Encourage physical activity during the daytime.
- Give patient a card with simple instructions (address and phone number) should the patient get lost.
- Use night-lights.
- Install alarm and sensor devices on doors.