Dementia assessment and management.
Dementia is a common yet potentially underdiagnosed illness in the long-term care setting. Targeted screening for dementia should be routine practice, as a diagnosis of dementia will have benefits to the care of the patient. Assessment of dementia should proceed in a step-wise approach and should be tailored to the needs of the individual patient. Management of dementia involves care for the cognitive changes, behavioral changes, functional changes, and emotional issues. It also involves the management of other illnesses in light of the dementia, consideration of the needs and well-being of the caregiver, and particular attention to advanced care planning. Management techniques and goals should evolve as the patient's illness progresses. This comprehensive approach to management of dementia may reduce morbidity and mortality associated with this illness. This model of care provides patients and families with needed information and resources, a clear view of prognosis, and necessary attention to quality of life issues.
Christensen, MD; White, HK
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