After patients receive a dementia diagnosis, it is important for healthcare providers to communicate with them about treatment options in an effective manner. Whether discussing drugs like Aducanumab for Alzheimer’s disease, medications for memory, cognition, and dementia-related behaviors, therapies, or implementing lifestyle changes, there are several best practices for effective and constructive communication.
It is important to understand that dementia is a complex disease that affects each individual differently. While communication is inherently different when interacting with an individual experiencing the early stages of dementia versus the later stages of dementia, it is essential to make no assumptions regarding an individual’s ability to communicate based on the stage of the disease. Communication with two dementia patients who are in the same stage of the disease might look totally different.
Let’s take a look into potential behaviors to anticipate when communicating with dementia patients and tips for communicating with dementia patients about treatment options and brain health monitoring tools.
Communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can be challenging. Individuals with dementia, depending on the severity, may have difficulty understanding others and may struggle to communicate what they are trying to say. Patients often exhibit noticeable patterns in conversation, including:
Effectively communicating with dementia patients about treatment options relies heavily on having patience, listening skills, and utilizing different strategies for different individuals. While interaction with dementia patients may vary significantly from patient to patient, there are a number of tips and strategies to alleviate common challenges. Detailed below are some of the top tips for healthy communication.
After communicating with dementia patients about treatment options, it is a good time to discuss how the patient would like to monitor their brain health throughout the course of their treatment. Traditional options include pencil and paper memory tests, such as the following:
The above methods for monitoring brain health require administration by a doctor, clinician, or other healthcare professional and often take a significant amount of time due to the clinical waiting time as well as the analysis and reporting time. Such methods also lack the ecological validity to assess brain health as it relates to the patient’s ability to complete normal day-to-day activities and may not provide a robust measure of the efficacy of treatments or therapies.
Other options for monitoring brain health include digitized versions of the above memory tests as well as digital medical devices, such as one that is currently in development by Altoida.
Altoida is building a precision neurology device that will measure and analyze a combination of cognitive and functional digital biomarkers to provide a more comprehensive analysis of brain health. Patients will complete three immersive, game-like augmented reality activities that simulate real-world tasks and additional digital motor activities. These activities are designed to be completed in roughly 10 minutes on any smartphone or tablet from any location. Altoida’s device will collect data from nearly 800 unique biomarkers across 11 unique neurocognitive domains, resulting in robust measurements of neurocognitive function.
Contact us today to learn more about effectively communicating with dementia patients about treatment options and how Altoida’s device can be used as a fun and engaging way to monitor brain health during treatment.