Medical care for the elderly takes center stage making mental health care take a back seat, especially in nursing homes. A great deal of time is spent assessing vital bodily functions in order to ensure nursing home residents are as comfortable as possible.
Because this is so time consuming, mental health care is easily overlooked even though it can add so much to quality of life.
There are other ways mental health care mistakes are made in the care of geriatrics. Another major mistake is the way treatment is approached by psychiatrists. Depression is very common in nursing home residents. Their way of life is drastically changed. The usual treatment with antidepressant medications does not address how someone can deal with these changes.
Behavioral problems often arise in residents with Alzheimer's disease. Drugging the resident as a way to diminish the behavior is usually the last resort but it is very common and disturbing.
Over-medicating is a prevalent problem that doesn't seem to be improving. Medications can cause symptoms of mental illness which is an easy problem to ignore because the elderly are expected to suffer some type of mental distress. Both psychiatric medications as well as with non-psychiatric medications have interaction risks in the elderly.
Nursing home residents have difficulties speaking, ambulating and taking care of their personal needs. This can be humiliating when concerns cannot be appropriately communicated. The downside is someone never receives appropriate help.
Recreational therapy can address loneliness and keep residents involved in social activities but does not appropriately address individual concerns that affect behavior and mental wellness.
An integrated wellness approach is an ideal way to treat geriatric mental health in nursing homes. Not all mental health concerns are best addressed medically considering the high risk of over-medication that doesn't address behaviors or recent events that precipitate normal grieving.
Family members who know how to evaluate their loved ones' situations and effectively communicate their concerns can make a huge and positive impact. An elder care consultant who specializes in a holistic well-assessment can fill in the gaps not managed by medical and psychiatric care.Geriatric Mental Health Mistakes in Nursing Homes