Long-Term Care

Trainer’s tip: Examining the cognitively impaired resident

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, March 22, 2012

When examining a cognitively impaired resident, consider the following:

  • The resident may be more secure if a family member or regular caregiver is present; honor the resident’s choice.
  • Keep the resident’s body covered and draped as much as possible.
  • Allow the resident to be as independent as possible, but provide assistance with dressing and undressing, as needed. Observing how much can be done independently provides useful information about the resident’s abilities and degree of cognitive impairment.
  • Approach the resident in a warm, assuring manner and recognize him/her by name. Be patient. Cognitively impaired adults are sensitive to the moods of others. Make sure your body language and demeanor do not send a message that you are impatient or irritated.
  • Speak in simple, concise terms.
  • Give simple directions one step at a time.
  • Evaluate the resident’s ability to follow instructions.
  • Provide reassurance. Respond to the resident’s emotions. For example, if the resident becomes fearful and starts to cry for her mother, reassure her that you understand how she feels and you will do everything you can to make her comfortable. Avoid reminding her that her mother is dead.
  • Treat the resident with consideration and respect throughout the examination.
  • Interview a collateral source separately to confirm and gather information.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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