I received this email this morning from LBDcaregivers@yahoogroups.com. My response follows this copy of the email.
Anyone have experience with Psychiatrists being used for LBD patient Posted by: "drh488" Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:17 pm (PST)
Today we had a Psychiatric nurse visit Mom. By the time she left, she had my mother so emotionally upset that she is ready to go back to a nursing home and die. She brought up things to my mother that happened 30 years ago and hasn’t been discussed in 20 years. Our battle with the outside caregivers has turned into a social worker telling us that WE have become Lewy body dementia. Our extreme efforts to make people understand the disease has taken the place of taking care our mother. Our mother does best when she has structured days. Up at 6, breakfast at 8, regis at 9, lunch at noon….etc. Anything out of that structure causes problems with her. This company sends occ. therapy, phys therapy, and a nurse. We have explained time and time again that our Mom needs structure. To no avail we wont here from them for 3-4 days then they call saying "We are on our way". Next thing you know, 3 people in one day unexpected. My sister is so frustrated. Psych nurse told my Mom that she has LBD, what it is and everything. Brought up old memories of my sister dying, my dad dying. Then she leaves with my mom all upset and my sister to deal with it. Psych nurse wont be back for 2 weeks. I’m calling my Mom’s neurologist tomorrow to see if she should be talking to this psycho nurse…no pun intended….It seems to me that it is more destructive than constructive. Interested if anyone has had similar experiences Thank You
I felt appalled as I read this post. It goes to show that not all educated individuals use good old fashioned common sense. Even a small child realizes something isn’t right when they see someone being hurt and being in distress.
As an aside, I should mention that dementia is not only a neurological diagnosis but is also an official psychiatric diagnosis.
Unfortunately, in spite of being taught to first DO NO HARM to a patient, medical professionals don’t always have good common sense either. One doesn’t always learn certain things from medical, psychology and nursing books.
Having said this, there is not excuse for someone to get someone upset like this. Psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurses are taught that certain mental health diagnoses should not be treated with traditional psychotherapy such as schizophrenia and dementia. These disorders are treated with supportive psychotherapy, not with insight-oriented psychotherapy as described in the email.
What good does it do to dredge up the past with someone who has dementia? How can it be helpful? I certainly don’t know. However, if an individual unsolicitedly brings up past memories, that is fine. They can be dealt with in a supportive way whether positive or negative. And reminding someone of past positive memories can be therapeutic as well. But to stir up past memories in any of us against our will is certainly cruel in my opinion.
So, yes, this behavior is undoubtedly more destructive than constructive. Definitely confront the involved providers and request them to discontinue this type of communication and involvement. If it doesn’t stop, go to the next level, etc. If it continues, and if it is possible, go somewhere else! If it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck then it is a duck………….
This makes me wonder. How many of all caregivers, professional and non-professional unwittingly aggravate and/or cause some of the argumentativeness, irritability and combativeness seen in the dementia population?
I’d be interested to hear of others’ thoughts and opinions.