Understanding a Patient’s World: Sensitivity Training for Dementia Caregivers


The expansion of patient sensitivity training has yielded significant benefits for long-term care facilities. Residents enjoy a better quality of life. Higher staff morale leads to less turnover for management. One ongoing challenge for sensitivity training is in caring for residents with dementia.

How a Dementia Patient May Perceive Reality

Regardless of the cause, dementia chips away a patient’s brain function. As this process continues, patients may believe that they are much younger than they are or that a dead family member still lives. To a dementia patient, this private world is every bit as vivid and real as the reality experienced by caregivers and family members.

The way forward surprises many people: Consistent with safety, let the resident live in their world to the greatest extent possible.

The Benefits of Respecting a Patient’s Perceived Reality

When staffers embrace this approach, empathy quickly replaces exasperation. While every day as a caregiver is demanding, learning to inhabit a dementia patient’s world can streamline the primary tasks of providing assistance and health care. A proactive facility can extend this training to family members and gain valuable allies in resident care.

Allowing dementia patients to live in their worlds with dignity makes for a happier and safer long-term care facility. Understanding this principle is a valuable insight for insurance agents serving LTC clients.