Nursing skills required for geriatric patients with dementia

Written by julie hampton
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Nursing skills required for geriatric patients with dementia

Geriatric patients who are diagnosed with dementia require additional skilled nursing care as the disease progresses. Dementia is the decline of the cognitive function of the mind. There are many forms of dementia, Alzheimer's being just one of the forms dementia can take.


Communication with a geriatric patient with dementia requires health care staff to speak in simple words and phrases. Many times a patient may not be able to communicate verbally, but is able to understand redirection and signals from a nursing professional. A person with dementia can many times pick up on body signals.

Daily Activities

Nursing staff assist patients with the activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, brushing teeth and combing hair.

Nutrition and Hydration

A person diagnosed with dementia may forget to hydrate herself, which can lead to further health complications. Nursing staff should be trained in providing proper hydration and liquids throughout the day. Staff should understand the importance of nutrition, and offer small meals and snacks to encourage good nutrition.


Assistance with toileting, as well as following a toileting program, is an important nursing skill when it comes to dementia patients. Nursing staff assist residents on a regular schedule to avoid incontinence problems.


Dementia patients may become angry or confused at times, and the nursing staff must be trained to redirect patients in a calm, yet firm, manner. Redirection can avoid harm to the patient as well as other patients in the facility.

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