Do you sometimes see “fireworks” on your unit? Not the colorful, sparkly, celebratory kind…but emotional fireworks, where patients who have dementia become combative or aggressive and you aren’t sure the best way to respond?
Often, a patient with cognitive impairment who is behaving this way is trying to communicate feelings that they aren’t able to verbalize, such as fear, anxiety, pain or confusion. Try to understand the situation from the patient’s perspective and think about how you might respond if you were in their hospital slippers.
Your research facilitator can work with your team to provide strategies for dealing with patients who are having challenging behaviors. They can help you role model situations with each other to explore different ways to respond, teach you some “tools of the trade” to deescalate situations when a patient is very upset (hint: sometimes it’s best to let the fireworks explode and fizzle out, then re-approach when the person is calmer), and review the steps of DICE to help you determine the root cause of some behaviors.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July and a wonderful week!