My work - placement took place in a small residential home in Portrush.

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My work - placement took place in a small residential home in Portrush.

I began my work – placement on the 10th January 2003 and completed it on the 11th April 2003 with two block weeks included.

There were only nine residents; seven women and two men. I spent most of my time with one lady who I will call, Mrs D so I will not breach confidentiality.

Mrs .D. is an elderly lady of 74 and has been a resident in my placement for 15 years.

She suffers from senile dementia that makes one to one communication quite difficult. This causes her to be confused.

Dementia is not a disease, but a label to describe a cluster of symptoms. It is a progressive illness causing Mrs D to become forgetful, muddled, and she has now become completely disorientated and unable to care for herself, hence the reason for her being placed in this home.

Mrs D’s short term memory is most affected and although she can’t remember for example what she had for lunch, she has great memory recall of events in the past.

Sometimes Mrs D has to be shown the route back to her room because her short - term memory is so poor. Mrs D becomes upset and bewildered because she doesn’t know where she is. She often wanders around without a purpose, and quite often shouts and screams. This was quite upsetting for me as a care assistant.

Dementia, a progressively neurological disease will lead to death.

I had to remember to communicate slowly and not rush. It was important to find a quiet place with no distractions and to take my time.

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I found it easier to sit beside Mrs D and use closed questions, as these invited a short, limited response.

I spoke slowly, and clearly, using plain language, repeating myself several times to make sure Mrs D understood me. I had to be non-judgemental, speak in an adult matter, and see past her disability.

It was important for me to remember ‘Simmons Roach’s ‘Principals of Caring’:

  • Compassion

  • Competence

  • Confidence

  • Conscience


  • Commitment

Because Mrs D has dementia, she becomes easily confused, and therefore I ...

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