How To Find a Care Home for an Aggressive Dementia Patient

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There are many facilities available to patients living with dementia who specialize in providing the kind of care they need, especially as their condition starts to decline. 

How To Find a Care Home for an Aggressive Dementia Patient

As the illness of dementia progresses, many people living with it start to have the inability to understand what is going on around them. When this happens it can be scary and patients can become verbally and physically aggressive. 

Trying to deal with a person whose cognitive function is impaired but they are still aggressive can be difficult. For this reason, some care facilities will have rules around the kinds of patients they will accept into their care. 

If you have a combative dementia patient at hand and are looking for a facility to care for them, you may have to do some looking around.

Here’s a little more information on what you need to know. 

Pros and Cons of Facilities for Combative Dementia Patients

Some care facilities may seem like they are more exclusive, and therefore better, if they will deny certain kinds of patients. But that isn’t necessarily true. 

It’s important to remember here that how a care facility deals with an aggressive resident will be a sign of its worth to you, and your loved one. 

For example, if a care facility says they deal with aggression by using frequent and heavy sedation then this is probably not the ideal place. This is because they are not really dealing with the aggression but rather are just knocking the patient out so they can’t do anything. 

This may lead to questions like well, how do you know exactly how the facility deals with it when you are not there? 

There are a few ways you can make sure you are choosing the right nursing home care for your loved one who may become aggressive as their dementia progresses. 

Smart Visiting

Before sending the person you love to a long-term care facility, you will want to make sure you’re visiting them to see what they’re like. 

It’s not enough, though, to just visit once. Visit a few times. Drop-in unexpectedly. See what happens when everything isn’t staged and there may be a resident with dementia who is having a bad day. 

If you really want to see how they deal with residents, visit during transition times. These would be times when they’re moving residents from their rooms to a dining hall, into a recreational activity and so on. 

These are really good times to see how the staff will deal with residents when they become difficult. It also gives you insight into how the residents respond to the staff. 

Staff can put on a show, but residents who have dementia will react honestly. If they trust someone and feel safe around them then this will come out. 

If there are only a few minor incidents, or a major one that is dealt with calmly by staff members and all residents are kept safe then it’s a pretty good sign of how they deal with aggressive patients. 

If the staff remain calm, chances are they have been trained on policies and procedures that keep everyone safe and make sure all residents are well cared for – even when they become aggressive. 

Don’t be afraid to ask about their training 

You’re placing your loved one in their care so you have every right to ask them about their training and exactly how they’re going to be cared for when you aren’t there.

When the staff in a long-term care facility have been well-trained, and are well-supported by their management, it can make the biggest difference in the care they provide for your loved one. 

caring for dementia patient

You should ask questions like – Do they have training updates? Does the home have subject matter experts come in to keep up on the knowledge as it’s changing? How are they trained to handle incidents where residents become aggressive?

How does the facility answer these questions (or not answer them!) will give you a lot of insight as to how they will handle potentially aggressive dementia patients. 

If you don’t feel comfortable with these answers, it is ok to walk away. Their answers should give you a sense of peace and comfort. If their answers leave you feeling uneasy, this is a sign you should probably walk away. 

You want to make sure the care facility will be caring for your loved one in the same way you would. Leaving your family member in a place where you know they will be loved like you would love them can make it that much easier. 

Do the research

Depending on where you live, the research may be a little different. What’s important to know is that there are public records on long-term care facilities. 

These records could include licensing, staff-to-patient ratios, detailed patient care plans, any complaints or issues they’ve had reported.

Since each region has different laws, what’s public record may be slightly different however each long-term care home does have to have some information publicly available. 

For this reason, do some research! Look them up and see what’s being said about them. Are the families happy with their loved one being there? What issues have they had, if any?

You can also ask around. If your loved one lives close by, chances are someone you know will know of this care facility. Maybe they even know someone who has been there or had a parent there. 

Word of mouth referrals can do a long way. Families who have first-hand experience, especially if they have a loved one who has dementia and may have had an aggressive episode can be really helpful. 

Doing this research can go a long way in helping you feel better for finding the right care for your loved one. 

Remove triggers that can cause aggression

Do you know that there are certain environmental factors that can trigger your loved one to become aggressive?

It could be anything from a certain conversation topic to a movie or even eating a certain food. This can be tough, but when it comes to dementia sometimes there isn’t a logical reason for what causes this. 

If there are certain triggers for your loved one, can the care facility remove them or minimize them so that your loved one isn’t exposed to it all the time?

Many care homes that are really great with memory care recognize that each resident will need an individual care plan, especially when they’ve progressed to needing around-the-clock care. 

For memory care patients, removing these triggers and preventing aggressive episodes will be key in keeping them emotionally healthy.

Final thoughts – facilities for combative dementia patients

Families may feel a little better when the care facility is taking steps to be proactive in keeping their loved ones healthy and preventing any feeling of discomfort or being overwhelmed. 

When a loved one is moving into a care facility, there is a lot of emotional strain on their family. Seeing them go into full-time, around-the-clock care is never something we want for the people we love the most. 

Your family member might feel abandoned and especially confused when they need memory care – they really have no idea where they are or why they are there. 

We know that there really isn’t anyone out there who will love your parent or family member like you will, and won’t care for them exactly like you will. 

caregiver and elderly woman in wheelchair

So leaving your loved one in a care home can be really stressful.

You will always have questions like will they be properly cared for? How will they be talked to if they are having an especially difficult day? Will aggression be dealt with by sedating the resident or does the staff have proper training? 

But if you choose a facility meant to accommodate combative dementia patients, things will be much easier. The right care homes have the training and expertise to provide the right kind of care that people living with dementia need. 

It’s really admirable if you want to care for your loved one, however it may not really be the best thing for them. Do you know how to care for someone with advancing dementia?

With the right research and visiting the facilities, you will quickly be able to tell which is the right fit for your loved one. 

It’s very understandable that you don’t want your loved one to be sedated every time they have a difficult day or are being a little aggressive. 

Overuse of sedation or physical policies can just scare your loved one and make it that much worse. You want a home that has the proper training to give the care they need and help them feel comfortable – especially when they are probably overwhelmed already. 

As you go through the process, make sure you are asking the questions that you need to answer to. If any home makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to say no and that it’s not the right place for your loved one.

Remember that you get a say, and so does your loved one. If you don’t feel comfortable after visiting, you will constantly be worried when your loved one lives there. Take the time, make the right choice for your loved one who needs memory care.