Confronting Memory Care Issues with Whiteboard Communication

Feb 12, 2020

senior hands

The loss of mental health capabilities is stressful for patients, their families and the people who care for them. As the population continues to age in the United States, and memory care units house and treat more patients with dementia and other mental health conditions, it has become more important than ever to find effective solutions for the major issues memory care patients face.

The Top Issues Faced by Memory Care Patients

The challenges memory care patients and caregivers face vary, but they mostly stem from the breakdown of the patient’s memory, ability to reason and general awareness. Some of the major issues memory care patients face, according to studies, include:

 

  • Agitation and depression
  • Paranoia
  • Wandering and restlessness
  • Late-day confusion
  • Struggling with daily activities (eating, bathing, taking medications, sleeping)

 

Challenges for caregivers and healthcare providers include:

 

  • Handling mood swings and behavioral changes
  • Keeping patients focused on daily activities
  • Keeping loved ones positive and motivated

 

Effective Communication Helps Patients, Providers and Caregivers

The ideal scenario for everyone concerned in the care of the patient is to keep the patient focused on and independent concerning as many daily tasks as possible. When it comes to tasks the patient cannot perform alone, communication is the most important factor.

Effective and focused communication plans can bring comfort, clarity and consistency to a patient’s life, but verbal communication is often not enough, and a personal attendant is not always available within a facility to tend to every patient 100% of the time. This results in passive behavior that research has found to be prevalent in patients with alzheimer’s disease. It’s this passivity that results in anxiety, agitation and depression.

Using Healthcare Whiteboards in Memory Care Facilities

Healthcare whiteboards, when designed well and placed correctly within memory care facilities, can help treat patients and improve their quality of life. Whiteboards aid in verbal communication by providing visual aids that last long after a conversation has ended and a provider or caregiver has left the room.

Effective communication using whiteboards can help memory care patients by providing consistent and semi-permanent reminders, notes and messages right in their rooms. These notes and information, conveniently placed on the wall in a patient’s room can help with:

 

  • Wayfinding: placing the patient’s name on the whiteboard lets them know this is their room.
  • Name recognition: the names of providers, caregivers, family members and roommates, along with their importance to the patient, will bring clarity to the patient as they encounter these people throughout the day. This can help reduce paranoia by familiarizing the patient with the people they frequently interact with.
  • Scheduling: writing down the patient’s daily tasks and the times they occur will help keep patients on a consistent schedule and reduce their anxiety by reducing the amount of surprises they encounter throughout their day.
  • Mood: simple and uplifting messages (especially left by loved ones) can have a positive effect on patients, lifting their mood, staving off depression and limiting their feelings of isolation.

 

When combined with consistent care, visual information exchanged through whiteboard use can help patients adjust to life in a memory care facility and increase the quality of life they have going forward.

 

Ready to design a whiteboard solution for your facility? Contact VividBoard for free design advice and a quote on your order.