The Alzheimer’s Association has published new guidance on caring for Alzheimer’s and all dementia patients in long-term care and community-based settings during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The document is a collaborative effort among 34 long-term care providers, community-based care providers, and affiliated associations.
It identifies important care considerations and incorporates evidence-based strategies from the Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Recommendations to assist staff in long-term and community-based care settings during emergency situations.
The new document provides care tips and guidance in several key areas, including:
- Preventing illness
- Providing person-centered care
- Helping families and friends stay connected
- Monitoring and responding to dementia-related issues, including assistance with eating and drinking, mobility and observing and responding to dementia-related behaviors
“In emergency situations, long-term and community-based care providers may experience staffing shortages or have to use non-clinical staff to assist with care,” Pace said. “This document can be used to focus staff very quickly on the most important considerations in caring for persons with dementia. It emphasizes person-centered care, which is the essential starting point for delivering optimal care. Individuals living with dementia thrive best with a consistent routine and with person-centered approaches. During emergency situations these practices are even more important.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the health of millions, but it presents unique challenges for the more than 5 million America’s living with Alzheimer’s, especially those in long-term and community-based care, who are often the most frail and vulnerable,” said Doug Pace, NHA, director, mission partnerships, Alzheimer’s Association. “This document is aimed at helping providers who may face staffing shortages deliver high-quality dementia care during an emergency situation.”
According to the 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report:
- 48% percent of nursing home residents are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
- Among older adults in residential facilities, including assisted living, 42% or more have some form of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
- Many individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias receive community-based services, including 32% of individuals using home health services and 31% using adult day services.
“The document outlines the most important dementia care considerations in the current environment,” said Letitia Jackson, senior vice president, Senior Star and chair, AADCPR. “Person-centered care is something the Roundtable members strive for to support those living with dementia every day. This document serves as an important reminder that this remains the goal even during a crisis.”