How Empathy Can Help Nurses Care for Patients with Dementia

Dementia is a loss of cognitive ability in an aging person, where in a person’s memory, attention, language and problem solving skills are impaired. Dementia seen in the elderly is known as senile dementia.

The disease, having no cure and progress as time advances can take a heavy toll on the life of the health care provider both on the physical and mental aspect. Nurses and caretakers handling clients with dementia often experience verbal and emotional abuse due to the frequent bouts of anger from their clients. One of the nurses’ trait that should be put to practice to be able to endure and prolong patience in a situation like this is “empathy”. Imagine acquiring a declining cognitive ability, how would you feel if you were in your client’s shoes. When a person learns that their cognitive abilities are progressively deteriorating, they would often feel vulnerable and in need of constant support and reassurance. A nurse must learn to empathize to be able to become more understanding of their patient.

If you are a nurse working in a longterm facility, these tips will be very helpful. Dementia is a broad cognitive impairment involving groups of symptoms such as anger, aggression, confusion, sundowner’s syndrome, suspicion and distrust.