Mental Helath

In the early stage motor skills are still intact, and the individual can easily be cared for at home by family members or a care giver.
In the middle stage cognitive functions decline. The memory deteriorates and the ability for self care is gradually lost. Personality changes become apparent, and the patient confuses times and places. They begin to have difficult communicating and recognizing friends or family members. At this stage they also begin to wander, and experience delusions and hallucinations. They also have an increased tendency to fall. Depending on the accompanying behavioral problems it may still be possible for them to remain at home with constant care, or it may become necessary to place them in an institutional setting.
In late stage disease the individual may well be bedridden, incontinent and unable to understand or speak. Full time care is now necessary. Typically once the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has been made the patient lives from 7 to 10 years, and on average 5 of those years in spent in some type of care facility.
Alzheimer’s disease can only be diagnosed with certainty from a brain autopsy after the person has died. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s is often difficult, particularly in the early stages, but an assessment will be made based on conversations with the person being diagnosed and those close to them, a physical examination, memory tests and/or brain scans. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s though there are a few drugs available to lessen the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient. People with Alzheimer’s will need to visit their doctor on a regular basis, so that the doctor can check how the disease is progressing and treat any other illnesses that occur. In this particular case the service user is still able to live at home with regular support (four visits a day from one care giver) but he is beginning to lose the ability to sequence tasks, or retain a reasonable perception of danger. This would place him in the first or early stage of the disease. There are two models of care currently in common use which I will discuss as alternatives. The first is the Medical Model which emphasizes the individual as sick, diagnoses the problem, makes a prognosis, and prescribes a cure. In this type of case a psychiatrist is the expert and the patient is the recipient of the expert’s definition of the problem. The medical model sees the disabled person as a problem who is to be adapted to fit into the world as it is. If this is not possible, then they are shut away in some specialized institution or isolated at home, where only their most basic needs are met. The emphasis is on dependence, backed up by the stereotypes of disability that call forth pity, fear and patronising attitudes. Usually the impairment is focused on, rather than the needs of the person. The power to change seems to lie within the medical, and associated professions with their talk of cures, normalisation and science. The patient has little input or say. Other people’s assessments of the patient, usually by non-disabled professionals, are used to determine where and how the patient is treated, what support they get, and where they

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