NHS Security Info – Free Download #10 – This brief by Jim O’Dwyer, Senior Consultant at AEGIS Protective Services, provides a focus on what Healthcare Security Officers need to know about patients with dementia.

In a rush?

Click Here to download this article as .pdf

What do NHS Security Officers need to know about patients with dementia?

1. Introduction

I have often been asked by Security Officers working in Acute Hospital settings about training that would help them better manage situations involving patients with dementia.

Whilst I am aware that training is available on Dementia Awareness and Dementia Care, as far as I know, there isn’t any ‘dementia training’ specifically for Healthcare Security Officers.

This publication is an attempt to redress that situation.

Jim O’Dwyer
Senior Consultant
AEGIS Protective Services

2. What is Dementia?

Dementia is a neurological condition that progressively affects a person’s memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform daily activities. Dementia will affect people differently, depending on the area of the brain affected and the extent of the damage. Damage may also occur in more than one area of the brain.

The symptoms become more and more severe over time.

Progression of the condition varies from person to person.

As a result of their dementia, a person will experience gradually increasing difficulty performing:

  • Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
    ADLs relate to personal care including bathing or showering, dressing, getting in or out of bed or a chair, using the toilet, eating, etc.
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
    IADLs include the individual’s ability to prepare food, manage finances, shop for groceries, do housework, use the telephone, etc.
    How a person experiences dementia will always be individual to them and will depend on many factors, including their personal circumstances, their physical make-up, their emotional resilience, the medication they take and the quality of support they receive.

3. Effects of Dementia

Dementia is characterised by a widespread impairment of mental functions.

For example, difficulties with:

  • Remembering
  • Thinking rationally/logically
  • Understanding information
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Communicating
  • Learning

A person with dementia may be likely to experience memory loss, language impairment, confusion, disorientation, sleep disturbances, difficulties with activities of daily living, self-neglect and psychiatric symptoms (e.g. apathy, depression or psychosis). The effects of dementia become more pronounced over time and a person with dementia will need increasing support throughout the course of their condition.

4. Dementia Statistics

There are about a million people in the UK who have dementia and the figure is expected to continue to rise.

  • 42% of individuals aged over 70 years of age admitted to acute hospitals have dementia (Sampson et al. 2009).
  • 48% of individuals aged over 80 years of age admitted to acute hospitals have dementia (Sampson et al. 2009).
  • 60% of people who present at A&E with dementia are previously undiagnosed as having dementia (NAO 2009).
  • One in four hospital beds are occupied by people who are over 65 years of age and have dementia (Alzheimer’s Society 2009.)
  • 97% of nursing staff and nurse managers surveyed said that they always or sometimes care for someone with dementia.
  • 89% of nursing staff surveyed identified working with people with dementia as very or quite challenging, (31% very challenging).
  • People with dementia stay far longer in hospital than other people having the same treatment or procedure (Alzheimer’s Society 2009).
  • The longer people with dementia are in hospital, the worse the effect on the symptoms of dementia and physical health.
  • The longer people with dementia are in hospital the more likely it becomes for them to be treated with antipsychotic drugs.
  • The longer people with dementia are in hospital the more likely it becomes for them to be discharged to a care home. (Over a third of people with dementia who go into hospital from living in their own homes are discharged to a care home setting.)
  • One in three of us who lives to 65 will experience some form of dementia before we die.
  • After the age of 80, the risk of dementia begins to decrease, with most 90 years old remaining unaffected.

5. Predictable effects of hospitalisation

Anyone admitted to hospital will be likely to experience feelings of apprehension, helplessness, anxiety, vulnerability, insecurity, fear and distress. For a person who has dementia, these feelings will be likely to be much more intense.

Due to their condition, a person with dementia:

  • May not be able to understand what is being said to them.
  • May experience difficulty comprehending what is happening to them and around them or why.
  • May be less able or unable to communicate their wants and needs.
  • May find changes to their daily routine very difficult to adjust to.
  • May feel uncomfortable being in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people.
  • May find any re-location traumatic (for example, when being transferred from A&E to the ward).
  • May be more likely to suffer disorientation (locations and time of day).
  • May be unable to perform everyday tasks such as dressing, feeding, washing, toileting and caring for themselves (and be embarrassed about this).
  • May be likely to experience high levels of fear, frustration and exasperation.
  • May get very bored, through lack of mental/social stimulation.
  • Are more likely to suffer from depression.
  • May not eat well or may refuse to eat at all.
  • May forget to drink sufficient fluids or refuse to do so.
  • May disregard personal care, hygiene and personal appearance.
  • Are more likely to suffer psychosis, hallucinations and delirium (and have false perceptions about reality).
  • May be more likely to lose their composure and self-control.
  • May exhibit dis-inhibited behaviour and act in a (sometimes shocking) way that can compromise their dignity, their safety and the safety and wellbeing of others.
  • May misinterpret staff actions and intentions as hostile, threatening and invasive.
  • May (strongly) resist care.

6. Recognising the signs of dementia

Common signs and symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Mental confusion and disorientation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in personality and mood, for example depression or agitation
  • Increasing difficulties with activities that require concentration and planning
  • Impaired judgment and problem solving
  • Difficulty carrying out normal daily tasks
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Slow and unsteady walk
  • Stroke-like symptoms, (such as muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the body)
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Abnormal thoughts (e.g. delusions)

Difficulties with speech are often the first noticeable symptoms in people with dementia.

An early sign that someone’s language is being affected by dementia is that they simply forget or can’t find the right words – particularly the names of people – and they may substitute an incorrect word or, may not find any word at all.

They may also have difficulty resuming the conversation after an interruption. These minor communication issues can happen to all of us at times. However, in people with dementia, language problems eventually become more noticeable. For instance, a person may begin confusing the meanings of words, perhaps saying that they don’t want to eat “worms” when they are really talking about the fish being served for dinner.

As the condition progresses, individuals may experience cognitive decline i.e. problems with thinking, reasoning, or remembering.

People with dementia will be more likely to find it difficult to hold more than one idea in their head simultaneously and they may jump from topic to topic without fully completing a coherent sentence.

It also becomes increasingly difficult for people with dementia to understand what others are saying, especially rapid or high-pitched speech or complex language. This can result in communication breakdown, frustration and challenging behaviour.

As dementia progresses, so a person’s ability to communicate using words decreases. Individuals may eventually become aphasic (i.e. partial or total inability to produce and understand speech) or mute and cannot communicate basic wants.

7. Each person with dementia is unique

Each person with dementia is unique, and their wants, needs and abilities may vary.

It is crucial to approach individuals with understanding, empathy and, above all, patience.

Strategies may need to be adapted based on the individual’s specific needs and abilities.

The goal is to create and maintain a safe and supportive environment, while minimising agitation and distress.

8. Increased risk of slips and falls

Dementia increases the risk of falling because patients:

  • Find it difficult to recognise environmental hazards
  • May be unaware of any limitations to their own mobility
  • Find it hard to regain balance if they become over-balanced.

Dementia is also associated with changes in walking patterns and low blood pressure on standing.

9. Increased risk of inappropriate behaviour

Patients who have dementia may, as a consequence of their condition, act in a way that is completely out-of-character. For example, inappropriate, rude, offensive conduct and dis-inhibited sexual behaviour.

Healthcare Security Officers need to be ‘mentally prepared’ for such incidents to happen and also recognise that the person may not understand they are doing something wrong.

If inappropriate behaviour presents problems or is disturbing others, staff will need to be respectful but firm with the person and, if they are unable to redirect the person to another activity or task, it may be best to remove the person from the situation to a more private place.

10. Increased risk of wandering behaviour

Dementia patients may wander or become disoriented, potentially putting themselves at risk.

Research indicates that up to 60% of people with dementia feel the need to walk about and this is referred to as ‘wandering behaviour’.

If a person’s wandering does not put them or others at risk, it may not be necessary to curtail the behaviour at all.

Many elderly people with dementia get good exercise from wandering, as long as they can do so in a safe environment, at safe times.

If dealing with someone found wandering, consider the following:

  • Is there a pattern in the wandering (e.g. time of day or where they go)?
  • Is the ‘wandering’ a consequence of a lack of physical exercise or mental stimulation during the day?
  • Is the ‘wandering’ an expression of mental restlessness – are they worrying about something?
  • Distract and re-direct, rather than confront someone who is wandering.
  • Confused people respond better if you are calm and reassuring.
  • Never scold or reprimand someone with dementia for wandering.
  • Instead, reassure them and, as and when you can, accompany them safely back to their bed.
  • Remember, if what the patient is doing does not present immediate risk, there is no need to rush things. So, take your time!

11. Increased risk of challenging behaviour

In later stages of dementia, many people behave in an agitated, aggressive manner.

These symptoms are often collectively known as ‘challenging behaviour’. But, make no mistake, challenging behaviour can manifest as extreme violence!

Challenging Behaviour more commonly occurs during showering or bathing, or in response to over-stimulation (e.g. staff handover times and at mealtimes), or physical discomfort or sudden changes in their routine.

Many things can trigger challenging behaviour, but the underlying cause is usually frustration at not being able to communicate their wants and needs.

Keep in mind that all behaviour is a form of communication.

The difficulty lies in deciphering the ‘message’.

12. Vision and perception difficulties

People who have dementia can experience problems with their vision and perception (termed ‘visual-perceptual difficulties’), which cause them to misinterpret the world around them.

Common experiences include:

Illusions – what the person sees is a ‘distortion of reality’. This may result from a particular characteristic of the object, such as its surface being shiny or it being the same colour as the wall behind. An example might be seeing a ‘face’ in a patterned curtain.

Misperceptions – what the person sees is a ‘best guess’ at the inaccurate or distorted information the brain has received from the eyes. This is usually the result of damage to the visual system due to diseases such as glaucoma. For example, a shadow on the carpet could be mistaken for a hole in the floor this can result in them refusing to walk across it.

Misidentifications – damage to specific parts of the brain can lead to problems identifying objects and people. For example, distinguishing between a son, husband or brother may become difficult.

It is easy to see how these kinds of ‘mistakes’ can lead to the patient saying or doing things that make others think they are hallucinating. However, a hallucination involves perceiving or seeing something that is not there in the real world and what the person with visual-perceptual difficulties is experiencing is the result of damage to the visual system and not based on incorrect reasoning or delusional thinking.

The kind of vision and perception difficulties a person with dementia experiences will depend on the type of dementia they have, as each type of dementia can damage the visual system in a different way.

Can you see a face in the curtain?

13. Dementia and Hallucinations

Some forms of dementia are associated with an increased probability of hallucinations. These include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

Hallucinations can occur across all the senses, but visual hallucinations are the most common type of hallucination experienced by people with dementia. Visual hallucinations can be as simple as seeing flashing lights, or as complex as seeing animals, people or bizarre situations.

Less often in people with dementia, hallucinations can involve hearing (voices, for example), smelling, tasting or feeling things that are not really there.

Hallucinations in people with Lewy Body dementia can often take the form of brightly coloured people or animals. The hallucinations may last for several minutes at a time and can occur on a daily basis.

Around one in 10 people with Lewy Body dementia also experience smells that are not really there (known as olfactory hallucinations) and some people with dementia may also experience auditory hallucinations (hearing sounds or voices) and tactile hallucinations (sensing things that aren’t there).

For auditory hallucinations, check the person’s hearing and make sure that their hearing aid is working, if they have one.

N.B. If a person’s hallucinations involve multiple senses, it can indicate serious illness requiring immediate attention.

14. During Hallucinations

If you suspect a person is hallucinating, try to explain calmly to them what is happening.

If they cannot accept your explanation at the time, it may be best to repeat it later when they are calmer.

There is little point in arguing with them and attempting to convince them that they are mistaken can lead to more distress.

Offer reassurance. Tell them that what they are sensing is not evident to you, but you want to know what they are experiencing.

Listen carefully to what they describe.

Discuss the patient’s feelings relative to what they imagine they are seeing and respond to the emotional content of what they are saying, rather than to the factual/fictional content.

Consider distracting the person to see if this stops the hallucination.

15. Afterwards, record what happened

  • What the person saw or sensed.
  • What time of day it occurred.
  • Where it happened.
  • How long it lasted.
  • What the person was doing when the hallucination started.
  • What preceded the hallucination (was it after a sleep, a meal, exercise, bathing, etc.)
  • How the person responded (e.g. if they were distressed) and the words they used to describe what they experienced.
  • The outcome.
  • What (if anything) helped to minimise their distress.

Recording and reporting this information can help to inform about the person’s condition and future treatment.

16. Reducing the prospect of hallucinations

  • Eliminate things in the environment that could be misinterpreted as something else, such as, patterned wallpaper or bright, contrasting surfaces or objects.
  • Increase lighting (use a mix of light sources).
  • Eliminate or minimise shadows.
  • Reduce any glare and reflections and remove or cover mirrors if they cause problems.

People are less likely to hear voices that are not there when they are talking to someone real. So, having company can help.

17. Delirium in people with dementia

Delirium is a common disorder that occurs in up to 50% of older persons admitted to acute care settings.

Statistically, people with dementia and cognitive impairment admitted to a general hospital are between 6 and 11 times more likely to develop delirium.

Delirium can be hyperactive or hypoactive.

Hypoactive delirium causes a slowing down, sleepiness, reduction of consciousness and reduced speech or interaction.

Hyperactive delirium causes the person to experience physical and psychological agitation, the need to move, speak quickly and have significantly reduced concentration.

Early identification of delirium is vitally important because delirium superimposed on dementia is connected with a more than double mortality risk compared to those with delirium or dementia alone.

Identifying delirium in someone who already has dementia is difficult as symptoms can fluctuate and because some symptoms (such as social withdrawal or poor responsiveness) are not easy to distinguish from symptoms of dementia. Both can cause memory loss, poor judgment, a decreased ability to communicate, and impaired functioning. However, a key difference is that a person with delirium simply cannot focus on one idea or task.

If you suspect a patient is suffering from delirium, report your concerns to clinical staff rather than assuming the problems have already been observed and noted.

18. Is dementia a mental health disorder?

Significantly, dementia is NOT classified as a mental health disorder. It is a syndrome characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities, memory loss, and changes in behaviour and thinking.

Dementia is typically caused by underlying neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. Mental health disorders, on the other hand, refer to conditions that primarily affect a person’s emotional and psychological well-being, such as depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia.

19. Could a person with dementia be sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983?

The Mental Health Act provides the legal framework for the assessment, treatment, and detention of individuals with mental disorders. So, if a person with dementia poses a risk to themselves or others, and their condition requires assessment or treatment in a hospital, they may be subject to detention under specific sections of the Mental Health Act.

The decision to section a person with dementia is made by mental health professionals based on their assessment of the individual’s condition and their need for care and treatment.

20. Are people with dementia usually sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983?

It is NOT common for people with dementia to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Sectioning is typically reserved for individuals with severe mental health conditions who pose a risk to themselves or others and require urgent assessment or treatment in a psychiatric hospital.

In the case of dementia, the focus is generally on providing appropriate care, support, and treatment in a more suitable setting, such as a specialised dementia care unit or a residential care facility. This is to ensure the individual’s safety, well-being, and quality of life, rather than imposing formal detention under the Mental Health Act. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where sectioning becomes necessary if the person’s behaviour poses significant risks that cannot be managed in other ways.

Each case is assessed individually based on the specific needs and circumstances of the person with dementia.

21. Would a person with dementia be likely to be assessed as lacking capacity for decision making?

Not all individuals with dementia automatically lack capacity for decision making.

Mental capacity is decision-specific and can vary depending on the specific decision being made and the stage and progression of the person’s dementia.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 in the UK provides a legal framework for assessing a person’s capacity to make decisions. It states that a person is presumed to have capacity unless proven otherwise.

Capacity assessments should be made on an individual basis and consider the person’s ability to understand, retain, use, and weigh the information relevant to the decision at hand.

In the case of dementia, as the condition progresses, individuals may experience cognitive decline and loss of capacity to make certain decisions.

It is important to assess capacity on a case-by-case basis and consider whether appropriate support, communication techniques, or adjustments can be made to enable the person to make decisions to the best of their ability.

Ultimately, the determination of capacity should be made by healthcare professionals.

22. First steps, if called to support clinical staff with an agitated patient who has dementia

When called to assist clinical staff with a patient who has dementia, Healthcare Security Officers should, if practicable, always find out as much as they can about the patient first, before meeting them.

This should start with establishing the patient’s legal status (i.e. are they a voluntary patient, detained under section, has/lacks mental capacity).

Ask clinical staff whether the patient has a ‘This is Me’ document / Positive Behaviour Support Plan or Care Plan, as if there is, it could contain important information about how best to manage the patient’s agitation/distress.

It is essential you make it clear to clinical staff that your role is to support them, not take over from them and that you cannot be left alone with the patient, as any physical intervention would always need to be clinically led.

23. What can Healthcare Security Officers do to calm a person with dementia who is agitated?

When a person with dementia is agitated and distressed, Healthcare Security Officers can employ the following strategies:

Remain calm and composed: It is crucial to maintain a calm and composed demeanour. Speak softly and use a gentle tone of voice to help create a calming atmosphere.

Approach slowly and respectfully: When approaching a patient with dementia, try to keep in their line of sight and always take the time to measure the speed of your approach (including by reference to their body language), so as to avoid them experiencing personal space intrusion too quickly, otherwise it could trigger an unwanted backlash. Avoid sudden movements. Where practicable, move to be at or even just below the person’s level (e.g. crouching or sitting next to them), as this can aid communication. Also, try to ensure your back is not towards a window or bright light. Otherwise, your face will be in darkness to the person, and this will impair communication.

Employ open body language: Adopt open and non-threatening body language. Avoid folding your arms, standing too close, or displaying aggressive postures. Maintain a respectful and non-confrontational stance.

Introduce yourself: Introduce yourself by name e.g. “My name is John” and state your job role e.g. “My role is to keep everyone here safe, including you.” Use the person’s preferred name if known. Otherwise use ‘Sir’ Madam or Miss as appropriate. Make and maintain normal eye contact.

Establish rapport: Building rapport is essential. Ask them how they would like you to address them. This empowers them with a choice. It’s important that you then remember to use their preferred name or form of address as this helps to build trust. Ask them what they need and how you can help them. Show empathy and understanding by actively listening to their concerns or emotions.

Validate their emotions: Acknowledge and validate their feelings and emotions. Let them know that you understand they are upset or distressed and that you are there to help and support them.

Provide reassurance: Offer reassurance by explaining that they are safe and that you are there to help. Be patient and understanding, giving them time to process information and respond.

Simplify communication: Always face the person during the conversation. This helps demonstrate your interest and it also helps the other person ‘see’ your body language. Speak calmly, clearly and in a soft tone of voice. Speak at a slightly slower pace than normal so that the person has more time to absorb and process the message you are providing. Use short sentences. Don’t overload them with too much information in one go e.g. asking a series of questions. Support your verbal messages with appropriate non-verbal communication (gesture, facial expression, etc.) It may help to demonstrate any actions you wish them to take. Consider communicating in writing or using images, pictures or symbols to enhance communication and facilitate understanding.

Take your time: Be patient when waiting for a response as people with dementia may be likely to need extra time to process a question and find the words to frame a reply. Be careful not to flood them with a variety of questions.

Listen carefully: Listen to what the person is saying, paying special attention to their tone, body language and actions.

Reinforce positive behaviour: Try not to miss any opportunity to praise and reinforce positive behaviour.

Resist asserting authority: Try to avoid negative statements such as “Don’t…” or ‘You can’t”.

Keep things simple: Try to break down instructions or questions into small, manageable parts. You may need to frame some questions so the person can answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but avoid using this technique extensively.

Expect repetitive questions: People with dementia may repeatedly ask the same questions. It can be tiresome but try to always respond as though it is the first time you have heard the question.

Respect the person: Try to never give the impression you are angry or cross with them, ignoring them or disinterested in them.

Avoid arguing or contradicting: Refrain from arguing, contradicting or correcting a person with dementia, as it may upset them and escalate their agitation. Instead, redirect their attention to a calming topic or engage in a non-confrontational conversation. Sometimes, it will be best to give them time and space and try again later, by which time their mood and attitude may have changed.

Offer choices and distractions: If appropriate, provide simple choices to help empower the individual and regain a sense of control. Offering a favourite object, engaging in a preferred activity, or redirecting their attention to something positive can help shift their focus.

24. Tips for re-directing a person with dementia

Where a person with dementia is focussed on taking a particular course of action, it can be challenging to re-direct them, but here are some tips that may be helpful:

Distraction with a positive topic: Engage the person in a conversation or activity that is enjoyable or of interest to them. This can redirect their focus away from the agitating situation. For example, ask about their favourite hobby or pastime.

Offer a change of scenery: Encourage the person to move to a different location or room, especially if the current environment seems to be contributing to their agitation. A change of scenery can help redirect their attention and potentially provide a more calming atmosphere.

Invite help with a task: Offer a simple task or activity that the person can participate in. This could be folding laundry, arranging flowers, or sorting objects. Meaningful tasks can redirect their energy and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Engage the senses: Utilise sensory stimulation to redirect their focus. This can include playing soft, calming music, providing a comforting texture to touch, or offering a scented object or aroma that is known to have a soothing effect.

Use visual cues: Visual cues can help redirect attention and guide behaviour. For example, if the person is fixated on a certain area or object, try placing a visually appealing or engaging object nearby to redirect their attention elsewhere.

Offer a snack or beverage: Sometimes providing a snack or a favourite beverage can help shift the person’s attention and provide a momentary distraction. It can also address any potential physical needs, such as hunger or thirst, which may contribute to agitation.

Calm and reassuring presence: Maintain a calm and reassuring presence throughout the redirection process. Your demeanour can influence their response. Use gentle tones, maintain eye contact, and project a sense of patience and understanding.

Involve a trusted person: If possible, involve a family member, caregiver, or someone familiar to the person. A familiar face may help redirect their focus and provide a sense of security and comfort.

Remember, the effectiveness of redirection techniques can vary depending on the individual and the specific situation. It’s important to be flexible, patient, and observant, adapting your approach as needed to best support the person’s well-being and minimise their agitation.

25. What could a Healthcare Security Officer say to a patient who is experiencing psychosis that could reassure them?

Psychosis refers to a state of mind where a person loses touch with reality, experiencing hallucinations, delusions, or disorganised thinking. When interacting with a patient experiencing psychosis, a Healthcare Security Officer can use reassuring and calming language to help alleviate their distress.

Here are some phrases that may be helpful:

“I’m here to help you.” Assure the patient that you are present to support them and ensure their safety.

“You are safe.” Reassure the patient that they are in a secure environment and that their well-being is a priority.
“I understand that you may be feeling frightened/upset/confused.” Acknowledge the patient’s emotions and validate their experience. This can help them feel heard and understood.

“You’re not alone.” Remind the patient that they are not facing their challenges by themselves and that there are people available to assist and support them.

“We will take care of you.” Let the patient know that there are healthcare professionals who are trained to address their specific needs and that they will receive appropriate care.

“It’s okay to feel this way.” Normalise their feelings and let them know that their emotions are valid. This can help reduce any shame or guilt they may be experiencing.

“Let’s work together to find a solution.” Collaborate with the patient to find ways to manage their distress and address their concerns. This empowers them and promotes a sense of shared decision-making.

“Is there anything that would help you feel more comfortable?” Ask the patient if there is anything they need or if there are any strategies that have helped them in the past. This shows that you are attentive to their individual needs and preferences.

Remember to maintain a calm and compassionate demeanour when using these phrases. Each individual may respond differently, so it’s important to be flexible and adapt your approach to best meet the needs of the patient in that moment.

26. Physical Restraint only as a last resort

When interacting with a patient with dementia, Healthcare Security Officers will need to employ the strategies taught in Conflict Resolution Training to prevent and defuse aggressive behaviour.

Use of physical force to restrain a patient must be regarded as an absolute last resort, for use only where the risk of harm presented by the patient’s actions is both serious and imminent and no other alternative method is available that would have achieved the same objective.

Remember, most people who have dementia are elderly and they may be too frail to survive being physically restrained!

27. Test your knowledge and understanding

Below is a set of ten multiple-choice questions and answers designed to test your knowledge and understanding about patients with dementia. (Answers below.)

1. What is dementia?
a) A mental health disorder
b) A progressive neurological condition
c) A type of cancer
d) A bacterial infection

2. Which of the following is a common sign of dementia?
a) Severe headaches.
b) Joint pain.
c) Memory loss.
d) Skin rashes.

3. When communicating with a person with dementia, it is important to:
a) Ensure your face is close to their face, so they can read your body language.
b) Raise your voice.
c) Explain why they are wrong.
d) Use simple language.

4. How can you de-escalate a person with dementia who is agitated and distressed?
a) Speak loudly to get their attention
b) Use physical force to restrain them
c) Remain calm, offer reassurance, and distract their attention
d) Ignore their agitation and let them calm down on their own

5. What is psychosis?
a) A type of infection
b) sleep disorder
c) A state of losing touch with reality
d) A muscle disorder

6. How can you reassure a person experiencing psychosis?
a) Express disbelief about their experiences
b) Provide a calm and supportive presence
c) Encourage them to ignore their hallucinations
d) Dismiss their feelings as insignificant

7. Which of the following strategies can be used to redirect a person with dementia or psychosis?
a) Challenge their beliefs
b) Use physical restraint to control their behaviour
c) Offer a change of scenery or engage in meaningful tasks
d) Isolate them from others to prevent further agitation

8. Why is empathy important when working with individuals with dementia or psychosis?
a) It helps them feel understood and supported
b) It helps you to understand them better.
c) It increases the likelihood of using physical force
d) It helps you gain authority over them

9. How best can you ensure the safety of a person with dementia who is prone to wandering?
a) Encourage them to wander freely
b) Restrict their movement to a specific area
c) Provide a secure environment for them to wander and regularly monitor their whereabouts
d) Ignore their wandering behaviour as it is part of their condition

10. What should you do if a person with dementia or psychosis exhibits challenging behaviours that pose a risk to themselves or others?
a) Avoid intervening and wait for them to calm down
b) Call the police immediately
c) Seek assistance from healthcare professionals
d) Confront and reprimand them

Download this article free, no sign up required

Click on the image below to view/download this article as a .pdf document.

Image shows front cover of NHS-Security-Info-Free-download-#10-AEGIS-Protective-Services.pdf

29. More info

If you would like to discuss any aspect Healthcare Security, please feel free to give me a call.

Jim O’Dwyer
Senior Consultant
AEGIS Protective Services

T: 01202 773736

Jim O'Dwyer image