A New Approach to Managing Dementia

October 17, 2019

Dementia,a chronic or persistentdisorder of the mental processes and marked by memory disorders, personalitychanges, and impaired reasoning affects over 44 million people worldwide. Generally, these symptoms are treatedwith drugs, and the most common medications are antipsychotic.

To find another approach, a national multidisciplinary expertpanel comprised of a dozen experts in dementia care collaborated to develop afour-step behavioral therapy approach referred to as DICE:

The four steps of the DICEstrategy include the following:

• Describe. Caregiversshould describe the symptoms and the contexts in which they occur to thedementia patient. Try to figure out cause and effect. Identify triggers tocertain behaviors.

• Investigate. Thecaregiver or medical provider should attempt to identify, or exclude, possibleunderlying causes. These can include unmet needs – lack of sleep, a need foreyeglasses or hearing aids, toiletry needs, etc.  Evaluate all possible medical andenvironmental issues that could be provoking the symptoms of dementia.

• Create. Caregivers,providers and family should collaborate to create and implement a treatmentplan. Treatments may be a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Brainstormbehavioral and environmental approaches which could include a visiting nurse oroccupational therapist. The five domains of generalized strategies suggested inthis study are educating the caregiver; improving communication between thecaregiver and patient; creating meaningful activities for the patient;simplifying tasks and establishing structured routines; and ensuring safety andenhancing the environment.

• Evaluate. Finally,evaluate the treatment plan periodically to determine whether it is working asintended or needs modifications.  

If you have a loved one experiencing signs of dementia, contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area, to meet with experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning attorneys.

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