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Caregiver Strain with Alzheimer's Dementia

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Alzheimer’s dementia is a progressive disease often embodied with behavioral and personality changes for the inflicted individual. It is a disease that directly affects families and caregivers. As behavior and cognition changes, caregivers must constantly adjust their approach. The stress associated with caregiving affects mood, personal relationships, and even morbidity (Okan 2012, Adams, 2008). Factors such as education, available resources, and the physical condition of the caregiver directly affect the outcomes of both the patient and the caregiver (Etters et al, 2008).

Negative repercussions for the patient can result from caregivers experiencing unmanageable stress. In addition, the unmet needs of the caregiver can negatively impact the quality of their lives (Vaubgabjar, J. et al 2013). There may be differences in factors related to burnout if the caregiving is considered informal, such as a family member, or someone hired specifically to caretake the patient. When the burden to care for a family member with dementia becomes too overwhelming, placement in a facility often results in guilt and anxiety (Sury, L. et al, 2013).

Nurses need to include family members in their approach to treatment of the patient with Alzheimer’s disease. By understanding how to screen caregivers for evidence of burnout, students are better prepared to more holistically treat the patient. Early screening and multi-component interventions can improve outcomes both for the caregiver and the patient (Etters et al, 2008). This teaching strategy offers activities to help the student better understand the impact of stress on the caregiver, screen for this impact, and construct strategies to address the strain. It is a teaching strategy that can be adapted to both in-class and online settings.

Caregiver Strain with Alzheimer's Dementia

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