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Nursing Management of Dementia: Eating & Sleep Problems

presented by Lisa Byrd, PhD, FNP-BC, GNP-BC

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Disclosure Statement:

Lisa Byrd is an employee of Florida Health Plans – BCBS. She is currently on Speaker’s Bureaus for Purdue Pharmaceuticals and Avanir Pharmaceuticals and is on the Advisory Board for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Accreditation Check:

Nurses working with older adults with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia must manage the eating and sleep problems encountered in these older adults. This course will review the complexity of the eating process, how dementia affects the ability to eat as well as strategies to enhance and improve the nutritional status of individuals with a diagnosis of dementia. Additionally, the presentation will review the biological processes occurring during normal sleep, the consequences of not getting an adequate amount of REM sleep, triggers that impair an older person's ability to sleep, and ways to increase length/improve the quality of restful sleep are also discussed.

Meet Your Instructor

Lisa Byrd, PhD, FNP-BC, GNP-BC

Lisa Byrd, PhD, FNP-BC, GNP-BC, Gerontologist, is an expert in caring for older adults and a seasoned Certified Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner. She treats numerous patients in nursing homes, an outpatient clinic, and hospital inpatient settings.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Changes in Eating Patterns

This chapter will review the various physical and psychological issues that affect an older adult with dementia and may cause them to have difficulty eating. A discussion will be offered to how older adults can maintain their nutritional status.

2. Nutritional Needs in the Older Adult

This chapter provides a brief review of the nutritional and caloric needs of older adults. A review of the older patient’s needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle will be presented.

3. Improving Nutritional Status

This chapter will present strategies to meet the caloric and nutritional needs of older adults with dementia. Strategies to improve an older person’s health will be reviewed.

4. Malnutrition and Dehydration

A brief review of how to identify malnutrition and dehydration in older adults with dementia will be presented. Ethical considerations surrounding malnutrition and how to manage will be discussed.

5. Sleep and Sleeping Issues

Older adults have changes in their sleep patterns, and older adults with dementia have additional problems sleeping. This chapter will review the common aging changes affecting sleep and strategies to manage sleep in older adults with dementia.

6. Why Do Sleeping Issues and Sundowning Occur?

Sundowning is a problematic-sudden change in behavior an older person with dementia exhibits. These behaviors are often difficult to manage. This chapter will review the causes and common triggers of sundowning behaviors.

7. Environmental Interventions to Enhance Sleep and Diminish Nighttime Behaviors

This chapter will review environmental factors which increase agitation and aggression in older adults with dementia in the evening and night hours. Strategies to manage nighttime behaviors to enhance sleep in older adults with dementia.

8. Medication Management

Sometimes sundowning behaviors require medications to manage the problematic behaviors when the individual or those within the individual’s environment are at risk for harm. This chapter will review the common medications utilized to manage these problematic behaviors, the safety considerations, and what to watch for when using these medications.

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