Dementia care and the Efficacy of Hypnotherapy

The Alzheimer’s Society has highlighted the recent trend and worrying number of calls being placed to their help line. A growing number of families of dementia patients are finding it increasingly difficult to secure places and are even finding family members are being evicted from their care homes. This was due to the patient having too complex needs, exhibiting challenging behaviour and the difficulty in providing round the clock person centred care.

Senile dementia

The Alzheimer’s Society has also highlighted the need not to scape goat care homes. Describing many of them, as being between a rock and a hard place when it comes to coping with the ever increasing needs of the client in a person centred way. The Alzheimer’s Society suggests, the fact of the matter is, care homes can’t sustain their business if local authorities don’t have big enough budgets and specialised trained staff to cover the costs and needs of their patients.

In a motivating article printed by the guardian, the NHS suggests care facilities must ensure that the right mix of professionals is involved in the design of health care. In this article the NHS further suggests, nursing and therapist specialists can make an enormous difference to how residents experience health care. Yet the concern was, by working apart from other services they risk being isolated and unable to access the relevant expertise to address the growing multiple needs of their residence.

Over the last decade or so Hypnotherapy has been widely accepted as mainstream for many types of conditions associated with the psychological decline of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It is therefore surprising then, that little recognition has been given to hypnotherapy as being a viable option in combating a patients declining abilities. There has been much evidence to suggest, Hypnotherapy as being extremely efficient for treating poor socialisation, memory, concentration, anxiety motivation and poor sleep patterns; just some of the psychological symptoms that are known to be prevalent in patients suffering with dementia today.

These symptoms can be seen to effect a patient’s successful interaction within their internal and social environments affecting a patient’s behaviour and, placing a greater strain on care homes and their staff.

In a pioneering pilot study undertaken by Duff and Nightingale back in 2005. Duff and colleagues concentrated on work with care home staff and their clients. This person centred therapy took into consideration the needs views and interests of the client and, was able to aid the realistic therapy that could be delivered alongside the medicalisation model of Dementia care. Duff describes there are subjective cognitive components to behavioural changes in dementia. These are not directly related to the biological dementing process. Moreover, these changes can be seen to occur through the psychological distress of the patient’s environment and disruption of their agency within it. Duff provides concrete evidence to suggest hypnosis is able to have an effect on these psychological aspects of subjective awareness and the gradual loss of ability that produces anxiety and depression. Duff concludes his study by demonstrating that by using hypnosis, – cognitive resources which are generally utilised by this gradual decline can be freed up and used within other positive areas of the patients life.

Pilot Study

Duff C, Nightingale, D.J (2005) The efficacy of hypnosis in changing the quality of life in patients with dementia: A pilot-study evaluation, Volume 6 issue 2, European journal of clinical hypnosis.

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