Dementia Support Australia (DSA) consultants often find that the smallest changes can have the biggest impact on a person’s wellbeing. Just like they were able to do for Jerry.
Jerry has been living in a care home for over a year and was referred to the DSA for ‘unexpected aggression’. During the day Jerry would sweep the back veranda of the care home– sometimes spending whole mornings and afternoons outside.
When a Dementia Support Australia consultant met Jerry he was sitting rigidly in a chair, observing people but not engaging. Research and practice revealed that people living with dementia are often less able to communicate when they are in pain. As part of a pain assessment the consultant observed Jerry stooped when he was sweeping, and noticed afterwards that he quite often ‘lashed’ out at staff.
A review of his pain medication, a change in his analgesia regime and the purchase of a new broom reduced the impact of the pain he experienced as a result of his daily sweeping. The incidents of ‘unexpected aggression’ reduced significantly and Jerry’s quality of life and the staff improved greatly.