Monday, August 1, 2022

Dementia Violence in Healthcare

As a hospice volunteer in Detroit, Michigan nursing homes, I viewed dementia as a fluttering bee. I never knew when it would make honey or sting. There were times when nursing home residents with dementia were rude or violent. I have seen a resident slap a nurse assistant (CNA) in the face with such force I thought she would fall over. To her credit, the CNA took a deep breath and walked away while another CNA interceded to work with the resident. The resident probably forgot the incident soon afterward. During violent situations involving residents living with dementia, caregivers have to protect themselves, restrain residents if they can, but resist expressing rage and fighting back.

Aggression and violence in nursing homes, unfortunately, is not as rare as many may think. It may involve victims who are too fragile to protect themselves. Some have even died as a direct result of being physically assaulted. Empathy for residents is always important. Spending time with them and getting to know them, their temperaments, their personalities, their likes and dislikes greatly impact caregivers' abilities to manage them in healthcare settings. 

The YouTube video below titled "Cursing or Verbal Aggression" illustrates one way of addressing these problems. This video was produced by the Murray Alzheimer's Research and Education Program in partnership with the Psychogeriatric Resource Consultants in Niagara Region and Hamilton-Halton.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at various booksellers. Visit Frances Shani Parker's Website.