Alzheimer`s Disease/last stage dementia

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Question
Cindy I am an LVN in a CLC  and I have a pt with end stage dementia. This pt is totally unaware of his surroundings and is somewhat difficult to manage at times. He appears to Lewy body and sundowners with his dementia and unable to walk or stand, he will began to thrash about in the bed in the eve and is in danger of harm from falling out of his bed and or chair.
I had an unusual experience with him where I assisted him from his bed to his carefoam chair with our new ceiling lift system and as I lowered him to the chair I noticed that he became calm as long as the sling was snug around him. My question is. Is there any research re the use of sensory calming with this approach?

Answer
Hello Vickie:  Bless you for taking such good care of these wonderful elders with dementia that you seek out even better ways to care for them!  We need more caregivers like you!
I don't know of any research with dementia patients and compression, but it's well known in children with autism that the cocooning is helpful in calming them.  Since dementia involves damage to many areas of the brain, it's not much of a stretch to imagine that those same areas in both the autistics and the dementia patients are being stimulated.  This also makes me think of newborn babies and how they like to be wrapped up like little mummies because that's calming for them.
By all means, try to figure out if this truly does help calm him (also think of the lighting because maybe he prefers it darker rather than lighter), and speak with his family and the management to try to get everyone on board with the means to help keep him calm.  
Temple Grandin is a famous author who is also autistic.  She is responsible for all the humane improvements in the slaughterhouses in the U.S. She noticed that cattle immediately calm down when they enter the squeeze shute, so she built her own squeeze apparatus and still uses it to this day when she feels anxious.  
Be sure he's hearing his favorite music during his restless times, and keep up the great work with these elders.  Thanks for making me aware of this!  Cindy

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner

Expertise

As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.

Experience

I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Organizations
Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Publications
Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Education/Credentials
Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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