Alzheimer’s Nursing Home Patient Tased by a Police Officer
Written by guest author Pam Brammann
R.N., Certified Dementia Trainer
When I read the report about an Alzheimer’s nursing home patient being tased by a police officer to calm him, I was astounded. It was abundantly clear that the staff did not understand how to properly respond to people with Alzheimer’s disease when they are upset. The staff did not know how to disengage behavioral challenges that Alzheimer’s patients commonly present.
The article claimed that the patient had been improperly medicated, which led to the violent behavior. Even then, I question the escalation that led to the police being called.
There were numerous comments at end of the article, including people stating they work at nursing homes, claiming that they approve of taser use to subdue an out of control Alzheimer’s patient. It made me sad to see so many uninformed people working with Alzheimer’s patients.
It’s alarming that so many people do not understand that if a person loses the ability to think clearly, that person also loses the ability to react rationally. If a person has a disease that is attacking their brain, like Alzheimer’s, why do people expect to logically reason with that person? Why do people expect a person with Alzheimer’s disease to react sensibly?
The root of the problem stems from the fact that family caregivers and far too many health care professionals are lacking quality Alzheimer’s education. If the nursing home staff had been properly educated and trained concerning Alzheimer’s, including how to appropriately manage challenging behaviors, more than likely, this incident would not have escalated to violence.
Every state requires skilled care facilities with dementia patients, to train their staff regarding varying aspects of dementia. However sitting someone in front of a computer to watch a DVD or a webinar does not always mean “quality” training, even though that training might meet state requirements for dementia training.
As a nurse and certified dementia trainer, I have disengaged challenging behaviors more times that I can count. Today I offer quality dementia training and guidance for any caregiver, including health care staff. Far too often people with Alzheimer’s disease are treated poorly, simply because the caregiver does not understand how to properly respond to someone with Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia.
The number of people developing Alzheimer’s disease has grown. This form of dementia is now ranked the 6th leading cause of death in the USA, affecting approximately 2.6 million to 5.2 million Americans. “If no cure is developed and present population trends continue, as many as 16 million individuals may have Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050.”
We as Americans must start demanding -quality- Alzheimer’s and dementia training and care. If anything, ensuring quality care and training honors our senior citizens; their golden years… deserve golden treatment.
To contact the author, go to: www.facebook.com/DementiaTraining