The Dementia Care Practice Recommendations are based on the latest evidence in dementia care research and the experience of care experts. A three-year study, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association and conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explored staff and facility characteristics associated with quality of life for people with dementia in assisted living residences and nursing homes. Results from this study were published in The Gerontologist (October 2005).
- People with dementia are able to experience joy, comfort, meaning and growth in their lives.
- For people with dementia in assisted living and nursing homes, quality of life depends on the quality of the relationships they have with the direct care staff.
- Optimal care occurs within a social environment that supports the development of healthy relationships between staff, family and residents.
- Good dementia care involves assessment of a resident’s abilities; care planning and provision; strategies for addressing behavioral and communication changes; appropriate staffing patterns; and an assisted living or nursing home environment that fosters community.
- Each person with dementia is unique, having a different constellation of abilities and need for support, which change over time as the disease progresses.
- Staff can determine how best to serve each resident by knowing as much as possible about each resident’s life story, preferences and abilities.
- Good dementia care involves using information about a resident to develop “person-centered” strategies, which are designed to ensure that services are tailored to each individual’s circumstances.
- To ensure that staff provide person-centered dementia care based on thorough knowledge of residents and their abilities and needs.
- To help staff and available family act as “care partners” with residents, working with residents to achieve optimal resident functioning and a high quality of life Note: “Family members” can include people who are related to a resident or are not related but play a significant role in the resident’s life.
- To have staff use a flexible, problem-solving approach to care designed to prevent problems before they occur by shifting care strategies to meet the changing conditions of people with dementia.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association