Sponsored by the HealthcareTrainingInstitute.org providing Quality Education since 1979
Add to Shopping Cart

Long-term Care Communication Techniques with Dementia & Alzheimer's
Aging continuing education addiction counselor CEUs

Section 15
An Overview of Alzheimer’s Disease

CEU Question 15 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Geriatric & Aging
Psychologist CEs, Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

Alzheimer's disease (AD) poses a major clinical challenge because of its high prevalence in the aging population, its prolonged course, and the absence of curative treatment. Important advances have recently beendrug therapy Aging mft CEU course made, however, in the diagnosis of the disease and the elucidation of its neuroscientific basis. Genetic research has identified an allele of apolipoprotein E that may confer a higher risk of developing AD. In addition, new possibilities for treatment are being investigated. One drug therapy--tacrine--has been approved, although uncertainty lingers about its efficacy and safety. In the absence of effective medical treatment, AD is a difficult problem for patients and their families. However, the physician can help by providing emotional support, symptom management, and informed counseling.  

Dr. Filley CM. Alzheimer's disease: It's irreversible but not untreatable. Geriatrics 1995; 50(July):18-23. An unfortunate tendency to consider Alzheimer s disease (AD) one of the "untreatable" dementias persists in the medical literature. However, if we required all of our patients to have entirely curable illnesses, few indeed would qualify for treatment. There is no untreatable disease, although AD is among the many that are irreversible. Effective pharmacotherapy may someday be available, but there is much you can do now for AD patients and their families.
Recent years have witnessed significant advances in our understanding of AD:

  • Diagnosis has improved considerably by careful attention to clinical features of the disease, thus facilitating appropriate decision-making and clinical research.
  • Much progress has been made toward understanding the cause of AD, without which definitive treatment will remain elusive.
  • Finally, the drug tacrine HC1 (Cognex) has provided the first therapeutic approach that may alter the course of the disease in some patients.

Treatment approaches: Counseling, drug therapies
Intervention with a patient presenting with probable AD can begin at the first encounter. Carefully consider the details of the clinical history, as this assures the patient that the evaluation is comprehensive and helps build confidence that you will continue to be available for advice and guidance.

Counseling. After you have excluded reversible causes of dementia by appropriate tests, clarify and explain the diagnosis, even though this initially may be difficult for patients and families to accept. Informed and sympathetic counseling allows for some appreciation of the problems that may arise, the approximate time course of the disease, and what kind of adjustments may be necessary.

As the disease advances, it is important to bring up the issue of advance directives while the patient still has decision-making capacity. The two most common advance directives are the durable power of attorney for health care, which allows a family member or other person to make healthcare decisions in the event of the patient's incapacity, and the living will, which instructs medical personnel to with-old or withdraw death-delaying procedures when the patient is in a terminal state and unable to communicate his or her wishes.

Referral to appropriate community resources, such as the Alzheimer's Association, can provide significant support and further information for patients and families as they grapple with progressive neurobehavioral decline. Educational materials such as The 36-Hour Day[17] and Understanding Alzheimer's Disease[18] are of great help. For legal and financial protection, many families obtain advice from an attorney who is knowledgeable in elder law.

Continuing follow-up of AD patients will usually involve your participation in the resolution of issues such as driving ability, legal competency, nursing home placement, and termination of care; problems such as these highlight the vital role in AD of caregivers--usually the family--who also need your attention as the "second victims" of the disease.
Drug therapy. Symptomatic pharmacotherapy is useful for certain complications of AD, with the proviso that elderly demented patients are quite susceptible to adverse drug reactions. In general, drugs that increase confusion, notably benzodiazepines and anticholinergic agents, should be avoided.

Conclusion
As a major cause of morbidity and mortality among older adults, AD has become an enormous medical challenge. Because its etiology remains uncertain, curative therapy is not available, but much progress has been made in the clinical diagnosis of the disease and in elucidating aspects of its patho-physiology. As knowledge expands, exciting prospects such as neuro-protective therapy, nerve growth factor,[24] and even gene therapy[26] may become a reality.
Today, a great deal can be done in less dramatic ways. Emotional support, symptom management, and informed counseling are invaluable to those who are afflicted and their families. Tacrine and other palliative drugs may find a secure role as well. Until the cause and cure of AD are discovered, it is well to remember that there is no untreatable disease.
- Filley, Christopher M..; Alzheimer’s Disease: It’s Irreversible But Not Untreatable; Geriatrics; Jul. 1995; Vol. 50, Issue 7.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.

Personal Reflection Exercise #6
The preceding section contained information about an overview of Alzheimer’s Disease. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 15
As Alzheimer's disease advances, what two advance directives are important to bring up while the patient still has decision-making capacity? Record the letter of the correct answer the CEU Answer Booklet.

 
Others who bought this Aging/Dementia Course
also bought…

Scroll DownScroll UpCourse Listing Bottom Cap

CEU Answer Booklet for this course | Geriatric & Aging
Forward to Section 16
Back to Section 14
Table of Contents
Top

Tuning out arthritis pain with radio energy - July 20, 2017
A noninvasive treatment for knee arthritis has been developed that uses cooled radio energy to target and interrupt pain signals.  Known as “Coolief,” the procedure can provide several months of relief from chronic arthritis pain for patients for whom surgery is not an option.
Similar improvements between speech language therapy delivered online and in-person - July 20, 2017
A recent study found that patients who accessed speech language therapy over the Internet saw large improvements to their communication abilities that were similar to those of patients doing in-person therapy.
Major communication gaps between doctors, home health care nurses revealed - July 19, 2017
Serious gaps in communication have been found between physicians and home health care agencies responsible for caring for often elderly patients discharged from hospitals. The problem, the study said, can contribute to hospital readmissions.
Brains are more plastic than we thought - July 19, 2017
New research has shown just how adaptive the brain can be, knowledge that could one day be applied to recovery from conditions such as stroke.
Using omega 3 fatty acids to treat Alzheimer's and other diseases? - July 18, 2017
Understanding how dietary essential fatty acids work may lead to effective treatments for diseases and conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson's disease and other retinal and neurodegenerative diseases. The key is to be able to intervene during the early stages of the disease.

CEU Continuing Education for
Psychologist CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs


OnlineCEUcredit.com Login


Forget your Password Reset it!