Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Practice Recommendations for Dementia
Recommendation
2.1 Nurses should maintain a high index of suspicion for the early symptoms of dementia to initiate appropriate assessments and facilitate individualized care.
2.2 Nurses should have knowledge of the most common presenting symptoms of: Alzheimer Disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, and be aware that there are mixed dementias.
2.3 Nurses should contribute to comprehensive standardized assessments to rule out or support the identification and monitoring of dementia based on their ongoing observations and expressed concerns from the client, family, and interdisciplinary team.
2.4 Nurses should create partnerships with family members or significant others in the care of clients. This is true for clients who live in either the community or in healthcare facilities.
2.5 Nurses should know their clients, recognize their retained abilities, understand the impact of the environment, and relate effectively when tailoring and implementing their caregiving strategies.
2.6 Nurses caring for clients with dementia should be knowledgeable about pain assessment and management in this population to promote physical and emotional well-being.
2.7 Nurses caring for clients with dementia should be knowledgeable about non-pharmacological interventions for managing behaviour to promote physical and psychological well-being.
2.8 Nurses caring for clients with dementia should be knowledgeable about pharmacological interventions and contribute to the decisions and education regarding the risks and benefits of medication for targeted symptoms, monitor for efficacy and side effects, document response, and advocate for re-evaluation and withdrawal of psychotropics after a time period of behavioural stability.
2.9 Nurses caring for older adults should promote healthy aging and protective strategies to minimize the risk of future cognitive changes

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