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High-quality dementia care is about more than looking at the condition’s symptoms. It’s about getting to know the person themselves – their history, interests, skills, and personality – and customising their care plan to best suit them.
While the term “dementia” is used to describe a range of symptoms caused by specific brain conditions, including memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with speech and comprehension, these symptoms vary from person to person.
At LuxuryCare, we follow Dr Gemma Jones’ ‘behavioural staging’ model of dementia care. She defines ‘ideal care’ as:
“The attitude and supportive actions which make a person feel valued, safe, nurtured, and cared for, regardless of their illness, the stage of their illness, irrespective of their gender, race, creed, past achievements, or their shortcomings as a human being.”
Below, we’ve outlined our approach to care, explained what behavioural staging involves, and provided an overview of the common stages experienced by individuals with dementia.
Our Approach to Care
Our approach to providing care centres around each person’s unique life story. By getting to know their likes, dislikes, biography, and lifestyle, we can create a tailored care plan that respects their identity and dignity, even as dementia progresses.
This approach lets us see the person behind the condition, rather than just the symptoms of dementia. We can then provide meaningful activities and daily life experiences that are tailored to the individual.
Ultimately, our person-centred approach to care recognises that each individual has a unique story to tell. By valuing and incorporating their life story, we can provide compassionate and respectful care that honours them throughout their time with us.
What is the Behaviour Staging Model?
Dementia is a progressive condition, so it’s important to have reference points to track changes over time. Behavioural staging provides a shorthand way of describing a person’s current needs and abilities within the larger context of their disease progression.
Behavioural staging also helps carers understand the many ways in which a person with dementia tries to adapt to their changing circumstances. This approach acknowledges the individuality of how each person experiences and reacts to their illness, while still providing a framework for understanding their current stage of dementia.
Just like with any other illness, dementia can be described as having a beginning, middle, and end. By using behavioural staging, we can identify each stage of the disease and tailor our care strategies accordingly to help our residents live as full and enriched lives as possible.
Behavioural staging doesn’t take away from the individuality of the person with dementia. Rather, it provides a tool for carers to understand where someone is in the complex illness and offer the most appropriate care at each stage.
Behavioural staging allows us to anticipate the changes we can expect to see as a person’s dementia progresses through different stages. By understanding these changes, we can differentiate between symptoms that are related to dementia and those that may be due to general ill health or ageing.
Read on for a brief overview of the four behavioural stages:
The Stages of Dementia
Disorientation and Mild Confusion
- Keeping up a good social facade to hide short-term memory losses and appear oriented.
- Reduced attention span.
- Aware of memory mistakes, may try to hide them.
- Fearful of losing control, independence, and becoming “crazy”.
- May exaggerate independence to mask own fears.
- May be frightened by the confusion of others.
- Difficulty finding some words and following conversations.
- May experience anger, defensiveness, blame, tension, and anxiety.
Time Confusion and Moderate Confusion
- Visibly disorientated with a loss of sense of chronological time, and not always aware of the season or time of day. May believe deceased persons, such as parents, are still alive.
- Becoming disinhibited, losing a sense of social etiquette, and starting to say what they are thinking.
- Language becomes more obviously affected, with the loss of the ‘thread’ of a sentence and the invention of new words to substitute for lost ones.
- Attention span is very limited, with an increased tendency to misplace things.
- Individuals may be less aware of their memory deficits and “mistakes,” leading to a more relaxed state and retreating to memories of happier times.
Repetitive Motion and Severe Confusion
- Verbal ability is limited, use of shorter phrases is common, or sometimes just whistling or singing.
- Efforts to initiate verbal contact are minimal.
- Severe sensory deficits, especially visual, are apparent.
- May engage in repeated movements, such as rocking, tapping, patting, polishing, or rolling up their dress.
- They often sit or lie down for much of the day.
- Individuals may recognise family members as familiar, but usually cannot retrieve their names or their relationship to them.
Calm End Stage Withdrawal
- Appears to sleep for most of the day
- Minimal body movements, muscles are loose
- Can’t recognise family members
- Withdrawn from the outside world most of the time
- Still able to respond to loud noises and unusual stimuli, such as music, a friendly voice, favourite foods, or a massage.
Book a Consultation
If you’d like to know more about our approach to dementia care, get in touch online or call us on 01202 292796. We’re happy to answer your questions and explain our specific methods in more detail, so don’t hesitate to reach out today!