The Information Requirements of Carers of People Who Have Dementia According to Hantsweb (2005) a carer is anyone who provides a great deal of care on a regular basis for a member of their family or a friend – but isn’t employed to do it. They don’t necessarily live in the same house as the person they look after.For Gonzalez-Gross et al. (2001) as the number of older people is growing rapidly worldwide and the fact that elderly people are also apparently living longer, dementia, the most common cause of cognitive impairment is getting to be a greater public health problem. It is important for the carer of people with disability especially those with who are taking care of people with dementia to know everything about the illness and to fully understand what it really is so you can help the person suffering from the illness.It is important for the carer to know that dementia is a progressive disease that canbe broken down into three stages. The mild, moderate and severe stage.In a study by Roth et al.
(1998) said that there is an estimated 30% of people with dementia have mild dementia, 42% are at a moderate stage and 28% have severe dementiaThe carer should know the criteria for clinical diagnosis of probable dementia patient. Cummings and McPherson (2001) enumerates the criterias for probable dementia patients: (1)Evaluation of neuro-psychiatric symptoms is a critical aspect of dementia diagnosis and management. (2) Deficit in two or more area of cognition(e.g. loss of memory, judgment, language, complex motor skills, and other intellectual function-caused by the permanent damage or death of the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons) .; (3) Progressive worsening of memory and other cognitive function, such as abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, language, perception, praxis, and ability to learn new skills (4) No disturbance of consciousness; (5) Onset between the ages of 40 and 90; (6) Absence of systemic disorders or other brain diseases that could account for the progressive memory and cognitive changes (Neurophatology: Dementia)According to Alzheimer’s Scotland (2006) “Caring for people with dementia can be a very stressful and complex task, and research has constantly shown that carers suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety.
Because dementia is degenerative, carers often find themselves taking on more and more task in order to support the increasing needs of the person with dementia. This can cause considerable problems for carers, whose own health and well-being may be jeopardised.(www. Alzcot.org)It is important that the carer must be aware that he also has his own needs – physically and mentally.
He has to take care of his emotional and physical well-being. It is good to consult a doctor or a general practitioner for this matter.In an exploratory study conducted by Godfrey ; Townsend (2001), they wanted to explore the meaning of caring for South Asian caregivers; the pattern of obligation and responsibility within families underpinning support for elders with dementia; and their access and use of health and social care services. They concluded that the development of a more culturally appropriate service response, integrated with and supportive of existing patterns of informal caregiving. Through this study they recommend a three-fold approach comprising of the following:· Improve the quality of service in terms of cultural appropriateness and need specificity.· Have a dialogue with ethnic communities in order to:1.
Share understanding of normative obligations and values as well as the shifts and changes that occur over time2. An awareness of, and understanding of dementia3. An understanding of need in its social and cultural context to integrate formal support with patterns of informal care.· Develop professional practice in responding to the organisation and experiences of caregiving in Asian families.In another study conducted in Australia regarding the benefits of providing information and training to family carers. They found out that there is a significant improvement in the health of the carer and delay in institutionalisation of the person with dementia. Brodaty and Gresham also mentioned in this study that this research in effect recommend an intervention which will help alleviate the fears and misconception of the carers but could also work as a preventative measure, delaying the person with dementia’s admission into long term care. (as cited in Alzheimer’s Scotland, 2001)There is another study by Woods et.
al (1991) about carer, said that female carer seems to suffer higher level of distress than male carers. There are many theories about this. Certainly, women in our society are more likely to be thrust into the caregiving role than men and may have less choice about it. Female carers are also more likely to be hand-on, that is, they tend to do everything themselves rather than delegate to others. Male carers tend to have more of a managerial style that allows them to distance themselves from the stressful situation to some degree by delegating a taskProfessor Henry Brodaty (1997) conducted a study in the late 80’s regarding the carer’s training program. This research was conducted in Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney Australia wherein he design a ten day residential program which involves a mix of education, skills training and stress management. This program was given to three set of groups.
They were first given a series of seminar and teleconferences. The first group received the training program immediately. The second group received the training program after six months and the third group received a 10 days of respite care. While the carer was getting their respective designed training programs, the dementing people that they are taking care was also given a structured memory training and activity program for ten days. After the research, Professor Brodaty found out that it is stress of the carers that immediately received the training was significantly lower compared to the other two groups.
The benefit of the program persist for eight years and the placement of dementing person to nursing homes were delayed and their survival was observed to be longer than expected.Extensive research has been conducted on the effects on caregivers of providing care to patients with diverse illnesses such as dementia, mental illness, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Caregiver characteristics that have been associated with caregiver burden or depression include income, health status, family functioning, residing with the care recipient, and perceived stigma. Those with lower income ( Pohl, Given, Collins, ; Given, 1994; Robinson, 1990), those with poorer health status ( Haley, Levine, Brown, ; Bartolucci 1987; Pratt, Schmall, Wright, ; Cleland, 1985), and those who resided with the care recipient experienced more burden ( Jutras ; Veilleux, 1991; Pakenham et al., 1995). Those who reported more family conflict reported more burden and poorer mental health ( Strawbridge, ; Wallhagen, 1991). Stigma has also been identified as a stressor for caregivers of patients with diverse illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and mental illnessHartung (as cited in Demi, et.
al, 1997 p.44 ) suggested in his study of African American caregivers to elderly relatives with dementia — he found that burden was positively associated with income — middle-income caregivers may deplete their savings as a result of caregiving responsibilities, whereas those who are already poor do not experience this loss of security. Bibiliography Brodaty, H., Gresham, M. and Luscombe, G.
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alzcot.org;Information for Carers.(2005) Guide to Care at Home Chapter 13. last updated: November 25, 2005 Hantsweb. Visited: March 29, 2006, http://www.hants.gov.uk/socservs/domcare/carers.html;;;;;;;;