Problem: The visitor who established a good rapport with the resident could not continue after 8 weeks. The resident keeps asking for him/her.
Solution: Another visitor, volunteer, staff member or family member, could talk with the first visitor about possible ways to continue supporting the resident in routines, interests and preferences enjoyed by the resident. Perhaps, a phone call or letter from the original visitor to the resident about the conversation with the new visitor might help to smooth the transition.
Problem: The resident has been hospitalized and suffered a stroke and has declined physically and mentally. The visitor does not handle this change in the resident.
Solution: Hold a meeting with the visitor to support his/her grief over this loss and change in their relationship. Help him/her to accept the changes in the resident if possible. Acknowledge the contribution he/she made to the resident's quality of life through the relationship with the resident. Help him/her to plan a visit that supports the resident's present capabilities if he/she chooses to continue visits with the resident.
Tips to Remember
The visitor should be very careful not to ask the resident to do something he/she is no longer able to do, so the resident is not put into a position of failure. In this way, anxiety in both the visitor and resident is reduced or prevented, which promotes each person's ability to be at his/her best.
When the resident does something inappropriate, the visitor should assume that the resident had a reason for doing it. The resident should then be given an opportunity to explain his/her perspective on the situation, instead of assuming he/she was not capable of acting intentionally for a reason that made sense to him/her. In this way, the visitor can gain insight into the resident's way of coping with the confusion of dementia and appreciate the ingenuity used to solve everyday problems. The visitor can then offer affirmation with words of understanding e.g., "Oh, that is what it seemed like to you. I can see why you thought that."
The resident should be the source of information about his/her self. It is important to obtain information about the resident from the resident. This will provide a glimpse of the resident's preferred view of his/her life and how it affects him/her. So few people really take the time to learn the resident's perspective on his own life, that many times the resident stops trying to give it.
The resident's feelings, personal experience of life and hopes should be most important to the visitor. There should be a personal 1:1 relationship between the visitor and the resident. Anyone else's view of the resident's life or feelings should be secondary. This attitude supports and empowers the resident.
Forms to Assist in Evaluating Intervention and Environment