Monday, January 26, 2015
Providing Spiritual Care According to Disease Process: Dementia
Providing Spiritual Care According to Disease Process: Dementia Before we even consider providing spiritual care to patients with dementia, we need to examine the pastoral care challenges this particular malady brings. Few Pastors and Chaplains have taken any continuing education course on providing spiritual care to patients with dementia. This leads to insufficient preparation for providing pastoral care to these persons. Most Chaplains are comfortable providing care for the caregivers of the dementia patient but are much less comfortable with the patient. This sense of unease leads Chaplains to wonder if their prayers are understood by the patient or if the Scripture readings or the words of consolation are even heard let alone appreciated. The result often is for the Chaplain to close out a care plan and move on to another more lucid patient. One’s theology of pastoral care will definitely determine the level of involvement the Chaplain will endeavor to provide for these persons. It is at this point that I would like to encourage my readers to do a little reading on this subject. Please take a few moments to read, “My Journey Into Alzheimer’s Disease” by Robert and Betty Davis. This book will give you some insight into the disease process and how it affects the patient and his or her family. Let me put it to you clearly, you must have specialized training in providing spiritual care to patients with dementia or else you will throw your hands up in the air in frustration. That is why I developed and patented The Communication Care Kit. Through years of experience and research I was able to put together a method that works in providing spiritual care to my patients. It would be nice to say it works 100% of the time, but it doesn’t. However, this method of care does work many times and that makes the work worth it. I am in the process of training the Chaplains at Cornerstone Hospice how to use the Kit. For now, my counsel to you is to get knowledgeable about this disease process.