June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that causes progressive mental deterioration.  While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, not all dementia cases will be diagnosed as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease is not a mental illness, but the symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and agitation are all related to mental health.  Mental health is scary and is not always easily discussed.  This fear and resistance to face behavioral health symptoms delays treatment and relief to both the patient and their family or caregivers.

Life events can cause depression and other behavioral health conditions.  The loss of a loved one can cause depression or worsen its effects.   Loosing freedoms like the ability to drive could cause depression and agitation.  Health conditions such as arthritis can make normal activities like getting up and moving around your home or taking a trip to the grocery store harder causing sadness and depression.  A diagnosis of a chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes can cause some to lose interest in activities that would have otherwise excited them.

When families notice their loved one pulling away from social events, withdrawing from their family and friends, sleeping more or even sometimes less than usual, or appearing confused, disoriented, or forgetful – they may feel as though these are normal parts of aging, or they will resolve on their own.  These symptoms are not normal and your loved one doesn’t have to suffer through them.

Help is available and you should not feel scared or embarrassed to seek it out.  Many treatment options are available such as medications, outpatient therapy, and inpatient treatment.

The short-term inpatient program at Sunrise Geriatric Services is designed to help manage behavioral health symptoms, implement therapies to improve the quality of life, and regulate medication changes,  all while providing support to families by teaching them how to modify home life to make the environment safer and less confusing to the patients.  Families will also learn coping strategies for caring for their loved one.

Our program focuses on:

Admission and Diagnosis

Referrals can be made by a physician or family member.  Before admission, thorough testing is completed to ensure the behavioral changes are not caused by an undiagnosed health condition such as an infection.  We obtain a complete health history and communicate with the patient’s primary care provider throughout treatment.  Patients are evaluated by our psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner within 24 hours after being admitted.

Multi-Disciplinary Treatment Planning

Our skilled team of nurses, social workers, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, dieticians, and psychiatrists all work together to create an individualized plan of care for each patient managing both psychiatric and medical conditions.

Regulating Medication Changes

Although our main objective is to manage a patient’s symptoms with as few medications as possible, we often have to add, stop, or change the dosage of a patient’s medication.  By implementing these changes inside our controlled environment, we can quickly identify side effects or medication interactions and make the necessary adjustments.  If the same medication changes are made at home, it may take weeks or even months to identify side effects and adjust dosing to maximize a patient’s functioning.

Managing Activities of Daily Living

To help our patients maintain as much independence as possible, we have physical, occupational, and speech therapists available.  The therapists help reinforce skills for everyday activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, and more.

Individual, Group, and Family Therapy

We use an activity-based program with a focus on art and music to keep the mind engaged.  Activities are scheduled as both individual and group sessions.  Counseling is provided to both the patient and their families.  We teach techniques for coping with triggers and stressful situations after discharge.

 Discharge Planning

The plan for discharge starts at admission.  Our team of professionals communicates throughout the patient’s stay.   Our goal throughout our program is to return the patient to the highest functioning state possible allowing them to return to their previous residence as independent as possible.

 

This June, let’s raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease and let’s fight for a cure.  Let us remove the negative stigma attached to mental health and be an advocate for those in need.  Help is available!

For more information on the services available at Sunrise Geriatric Services, or to speak to an expert, please call 931-433-0263 or visit our website at www.lincolnhealthsystem.com.

 

 

 

 

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