Behavioral Units for Dementia

Posted by grecarmar @grecarmar, Oct 7, 2019

My mom is in a memory care facility and suffering from dementia related psychosis. They’ve tried various medications that seem to help some, but she still has periods where she becomes quite agitated. If they can’t find the right medications to get it under control, they said she will need to move to behavioral uni”. I’m trying to find out more about behavioral units via internet searching, but haven’t been all that successful. To start with, how would I find the locations of behavioral units in my state (MN)? Are there behavioral units that specialize in caring for dementia related problems?

Hello @grecarmar I am Scott and while not any kind of medical professional, I can relate what we encountered with this definition when my wife was battling many of her dementia-like symptoms due to her brain cancer. Many of her symptoms were extreme and quite different than what had been witnessed in somewhat similar patients.

In our case I found the term behavioral unit and psychiatric unit were often used interchangeably. In my wife's case this would have been a unit within an acute care hospital where they would work intensively to take her off every medication she was on and then slowly build back up as they observed how each medication worked or didn't for her. She did not enter this unit as her main neuro doctor felt it would be better for her (and me as her caregiver) to continue to work on balancing her medicinal cocktail to achieve the desired results. Again, this was just our experience with this area of medicine.

I don't know if this helps at all or not.

Strength, courage, and peace

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@IndianaScott

Hello @grecarmar I am Scott and while not any kind of medical professional, I can relate what we encountered with this definition when my wife was battling many of her dementia-like symptoms due to her brain cancer. Many of her symptoms were extreme and quite different than what had been witnessed in somewhat similar patients.

In our case I found the term behavioral unit and psychiatric unit were often used interchangeably. In my wife's case this would have been a unit within an acute care hospital where they would work intensively to take her off every medication she was on and then slowly build back up as they observed how each medication worked or didn't for her. She did not enter this unit as her main neuro doctor felt it would be better for her (and me as her caregiver) to continue to work on balancing her medicinal cocktail to achieve the desired results. Again, this was just our experience with this area of medicine.

I don't know if this helps at all or not.

Strength, courage, and peace

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Thanks for that information. Is it typically a short term stay until they find the right medicinal cocktail? If they're not able to find the right mix, can a person stay in these behavioral units long term? From what I can tell, they are in acute care hospitals, so that makes me think of a more limited duration stay.

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@grecarmar Good morning. You might start by asking the staff/administrator where your mother is now, to give you names and recommendations of places they know of. Or they can give you the name of the state agency that oversees all these facilities. Let me know what you learn

Liked by Leonard

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Good afternoon. Unless things have drastically changed since my mom had episodes of difficult behavior, the remedies are few and far between. Hospital visits brought out the worst in her. She would take swings at the nurses and doctors with her fists. Her language got nasty and she shouted words I didn't know she knew! She was put on psychotropic drugs and antidepressants (Zoloft, Adivan, etc). Looking back, I don't think any of those were a good idea. I can give you a few tips that may help. Find a way to play her favorite music (iPod, old cell phone, etc) and get her some headphones. I recorded Frank Sinatra, old 'swing' tunes, big band stuff. It would calm her down immediately. Before we knew it, she was singing along. Also, they have some really realistic stuffed puppies and kitties. They move their heads and purr, etc. Keep one handy and when things get bad, pop one in her lap. Expensive, but a lot less than a psychological councilor. Please visit my website http://www.anewpathformom.com. You might see some helpful things. Good luck!

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@virginianaeve

Good afternoon. Unless things have drastically changed since my mom had episodes of difficult behavior, the remedies are few and far between. Hospital visits brought out the worst in her. She would take swings at the nurses and doctors with her fists. Her language got nasty and she shouted words I didn't know she knew! She was put on psychotropic drugs and antidepressants (Zoloft, Adivan, etc). Looking back, I don't think any of those were a good idea. I can give you a few tips that may help. Find a way to play her favorite music (iPod, old cell phone, etc) and get her some headphones. I recorded Frank Sinatra, old 'swing' tunes, big band stuff. It would calm her down immediately. Before we knew it, she was singing along. Also, they have some really realistic stuffed puppies and kitties. They move their heads and purr, etc. Keep one handy and when things get bad, pop one in her lap. Expensive, but a lot less than a psychological councilor. Please visit my website http://www.anewpathformom.com. You might see some helpful things. Good luck!

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@virginianaeve Your suggestions will be so helpful to everyone, especially the music from her era. Does the facility have pet therapy? It works so well! Thank you for posting what has worked for you

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Thanks Becky! You are also a great help to so many caregivers. Many times there is no easy answer.

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