Dementia Care Client Case Study
Former military pilot Steve, in his eighties, was taking anti-psychotic drugs for two years before he came under the care of The Good Care Group. He was a threat to himself and his wife – often aggressive and violent.
The Good Care Group delivers a programme of care which promotes sustainable well-being for people with living dementia, utilising the SPECAL method. The SPECAL method is underpinned by a particular understanding of dementia from the perspective of the person experiencing it. This understanding is called the SPECAL Photograph Album. The SPECAL Photograph Album points to a particular way of using past memories to ‘build a bridge’ to current activities in daily life. Using this innovative concept a new approach to Steve’s care began.
Through close observation using SPECAL’s Observational Tracking (SPOT) it became clear, whist it had been a long time since Steve had piloted a plane, thoughts of flying and his mind.
Steve was storing new information sporadically and did not always understand where he was, or what he should be doing – a huge source of anxiety. Working with cues, both verbal and visual, drawn from the theme of flying, helped to provide him with context, purpose and pride.
However, this alone did not help persuade such an independent person to accept help with everyday actions such as washing and dressing. Another theme had to be found to get him to accept some assistance.
Steve had issues with blood pressure long before the onset of dementia. We found that it was acceptable to Steve to be helped with personal care if we focused on these issues, rather than directly focussing on his dementia. By utilising Steve’s blood pressure checks we were able to persuade him to remove his shirt – whilst not implying that he was unable to do things – allowing the carer to help with these activities of washing and dressing with no stress involved for the Steve. Following the SPECAL Method our carers learned to move fluidly between the flying and blood pressure themes, ensuring that Steve’s sense of personal worth and acceptable dependency were subtly well balanced.
Now Steve is no longer a threat to himself, his wife or others and has ceased to take anti-psychotic drugs. He is now calm and free from agitation, and his overall well-being has improved in a sustainable way.