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Dementia

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When recalling his grandmother’s end-stage of life care, geriatrician and dementia researcher Greg A. Sachs, MD, of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research, remembers that there has been little change in the care of patients with end-stage dementia in the past 30 years (Salynn Boyles, WebMD Health News, 2009). As Sabat (2009) wrote concerning the need for improving the lives of patients with end-stage dementia, “constitutes a call to action that cannot and should not be ignored” (p. 1806). Scholl and Sabat (2008) noted “that high anxiety is correlated with lower working memory capacity” (p. 120). In this study we seek to discover changes that can be made in the daily care guidelines of caregivers that can immediately increase the quality of life for patients with diagnosis of middle to end-stage Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis by decreasing their stress levels occurring as a result of their activities of daily living. This study will be the first of many to examine opportunities for the reduction of unnecessary stressors for these cognitively impaired patients. In order to not waste time with individual studies involving many months, we will also begin videotaping patients daily interactions with their caregivers just as Rogers did of his counseling sessions with clients (Gundrum, Lietaer, & Van Hees-Matthijssen, 1999). The purpose of this filming will be to highlight other areas of daily care activities to direct our attention to where possible changes can be made. It is expected that patient stress will be decreased and patient satisfaction increased by making changes in these guidelines and developing new instructions guiding caregivers in how better to communicate and interact with patients just as Rogers ...

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...to the depth and scale we expect to provide. Anytime, a more familiar and standardized test or scale which has wide acceptance in the field will improve the legitimacy of our work and results.

Evaluating bathing routines will require respect for the personal privacy of body of patients so that filming will not be allowed, although it is conceivable that training films can at some point be made using researchers a clothed patient proxies for demonstration. Instead of filming for evidence of an improvement of patient satisfaction with changes made in the routines, surveys of families as to the communication levels of their loved ones that they enjoyed before our research began. Also, a review of patient logs and that of a research assistant being physically present as an assistant in bathing routine, who will make additional notes after each bathing session.
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