AC FFC Tidbit of the Week for February 28, 2021: 10 Tips to Reduce Resistance to Care

As you integrate Function Focused Care with your patients with dementia, sometimes you will encounter resistance to care, especially during more intimate activities like bathing, dressing and oral care. This week we’re sharing 10 tips to help you decrease this resistance while encouraging your patient to participate in their own care:

  1. Approach is key! Assume a non-threatening posture: smile & speak in a pleasant tone of voice, keep arms open (not crossed), conduct care at patient’s eye level and from the side. Do not stand over the patient, as they can perceive this as a threat.
  2. Slow down care and ensure you are communicating clearly and explaining the task in a step-by-step process. (We’ll talk more about communicating with people with dementia in a future tidbit!)
  3. Encourage the person to do as much for themselves as they are able. Use role modeling, cueing, and tell them “great job” when they do it.
  4. Put objects needed for the task (e.g. comb, toothbrush, etc.) within their field of vision so they can find them easily.
  5. Remove objects that are unnecessary or distracting (like a TV remote that they can confuse with a hairbrush).
  6. Use your knowledge of a patient’s interests to invoke pleasant thoughts for the resident and build trust with them. Remember that “Get to Know Me” board we talked about a few weeks ago? This is where that comes in handy! The information about a person’s family, career, and hobbies can be nuggets of gold when you need to build trust and decrease resistance to care.
  7. Identify long-standing habits and adjust routines as needed. For example, if the patient does not like going into the bathroom to brush her teeth, bring a basin of water and toothbrush to her bedside instead.
  8. Have they had their pain medication yet? If you think the activity may be uncomfortable or painful, wait until they have had their pain medication before attempting the activity.
  9. Pay attention to the environment. Is it too noisy? Playing calming music of a favorite song of the resident may help. Is the room too dark or too bright? You may need to close the blinds or turn on lights. Is the room cold, especially for bathing? Grab an extra blanket or towels.
  10. Finally…Don’t forget the music! Music can reduce resistance to care behaviors during bath/shower time and meal time, as well as during other activities of daily living.

For a 10-minute overview on strategies to help reduce resistance to care, check out our quick Power Point video using the link below. You’ll be asked for your name and an email address to access the video:

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