Honored Contributor
Posts: 20,721
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

dementia patients and sedation

There is an article on the front page of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette today saying that medicare & medicade have started an initiative to stop sedating agitated dementia patients. They feel that patients who are demented to the point of lashing out should instead have personal attention, exercise and music therapy.

UPMC, a huge hospital system here in W. Pa answered back that there is no way there is enough staff to spend one on one time with these patients and that these therapies do not actually work.

Personally, If I went in to visit my parent in a nursing home and she was all violent and agitated I would be way more upset than going in and seeing her sedated and calm. Also, if I were the patient I would rather be sedated than be being tormented by irrational thoughts.

Also, certainly,it is difficult enough to find people who are willing to care for demented patients let alone if they are going to come to work daily and be getting punched, kicked, spit on, urinated on and Lord only knows what else as these are the types of behaviors that cause patients to be sedated in the first place.Ii have seen nurses have handfuls of their hair pulled out and their uniforms ripped apart by agitated patients. I do understand that there are staff who do sometimes appear to over sedate and that can be brought up with the director of the home but to just out & out say no one should be sedated is - IMO - is obviously not being said by anyone who has actually been in the position of caring for demented patients.

First they said we can't restrain anyone so we had to get rid of things like geri chairs - a chair with a table across the front that kept the patient seated and gave them a place to eat or do something if they were able so now the patients wander around all day and frequently fall. Or, if they are in the hospital for medical care they are pulling out all the tubes and lines over and over. I'm not advocating over use of restarints or of overuse of sedation but there has to be a happy medium.


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