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Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Agitated Patients

Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Agitated Patients
Caring for agitated patients is often necessary if the person has dementia. Someone who has Alzheimer’s can quickly get nervous or anxious. Sometimes, this agitation causes them to become restless, and they start pacing around the room. Or they could shout or raise their voice for seemingly minor issues.
Dealing with agitated patients is challenging for caregivers and close family members. The patient’s actions may seem dis-appropriate for the situation. Or you may see and hear things that are not characteristic of your loved one.
This article has handy tips to help you meet the challenge of caring for an agitated patient.

What is Agitation?

Agitation is being in a state of anxiety or nervous excitement. An agitated patient may show signs of restlessness, frustration, anger, stubbornness, and even aggressiveness. The agitation is usually connected with anxiety and depression and is common in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA), a senior showing agitation signs usually has significant impairments. These could be difficulty maintaining relationships, participating in daily activities, or other aspects of social functioning.

Possible Causes of Agitated Behavior

Loss of cognitive function is the underlying cause of dementia patients who get easily agitated. However, there are specific situations that can cause tension to escalate. These situations can include any of the following:
  • Changes in the environment, such as being in hospital
  • Moving to a new residence
  • Having strangers or people they no longer recognize in the room
  • Misperceived threats
  • Fatigue

How to Deal with Agitated Patients

Dealing with patients who are showing signs of agitation is challenging. However, there are some ways you can alleviate the distress. Here are handy tips on preventing or reducing agitation:
Create a relaxed environment— Try to ensure that there are no triggers that agitate the patient. This could involve keeping the room quiet to give more rest and privacy.
Monitor personal comfort— It’s a good idea to ensure that the patient isn’t in physical discomfort. Check to see that they’re no in pain and are not hungry or thirsty. Also, make sure that there are no health issues causing irritation.
Provide reassurance— Take care not to raise your voice, take offense, or argue with the person. You could try to calm them down by reassuring them that they are safe. You could also express sympathy for how they are feeling.
Get emotional support—Caring for an agitated person with dementia takes a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. So, it’s vital to care for your own health and get the support you need to avoid burnout.

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