Integrity promoting care of demented patients

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: The purpose of the thesis was to investigate if integrity promoting care improves functions in demented patients over time. The Erikson (1982) theory of ”eight stages of man” was used as a basis for training of staff in a three-month intervention study (I-VI) at a nursing home ward. A collective living unit where staff had had support in the performance of the delivery of care was also evaluated and compared with a nursing home in a long-term study (VII). Patients, relatives, staff, and the environments were investigated. Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of somatostatin increased, and reduction of distractability, anxiety and confusion was seen in the intervention group (I) in contrast to controls. In the collective living group (VII) EEG activities indicated a reduction of supposed dementia induced changes. Better motor and social ability, some improved intellectual ability, more alertness and reduced signs of depression were seen (I, II, VII). Patients expressed more autonomy (IV, VII) and initiatives (II-VII) and showed a lot of competence (V) in conversations. Five patients (V) showed patterns of behaviour which seemed to reflect life-long characteristics in spite of their severe dementia. The improvement in the patients' functions can be attributed to the physical environment and the integrity promoting care, since the medical treatment of the patients remained unchanged. In the thesis medical, psychological, and nursing sciences were connected in a complementary process. The results were congruent, and indicate that patients in the care of staff who had had training and support, declined less than controls.