We have been steadily reducing the use of antipsychotic medications at River View. It’s been going fairly well. Staff understand the need to do this and our physicians and nurse practitioner are on board. Each person and family has a different journey with a dementia diagnosis. I’m thinking of George, who moved to River View a few months ago at age 85.
George’s wife was caring for him at their home. Even with some assistance, Lois was struggling. She became more fatigued when George was restless at night and her arthritis limits her movement. Concerned about Lois, their family encouraged her to move George to River View. Married 62 years, Lois is devoted to him, making this a hard decision for her.
George has adjusted fairly well and Lois visits daily. Anna, the nurse on George’s neighborhood, talked with George and Lois about reducing the Seroquel dose he’d been on at home to help manage his restlessness. Lois was reluctant at first, but agreed after talking with their physician. The dose reduction has gone fairly well until now.
George had been mild mannered and fairly agreeable. Over the past month, he’s become more grumpy and agitated, especially in the evening. At bedtime, he sometimes becomes distressed and verbally abusive when staff try to assist him. Twice he was shouting loudly, as if he was having an argument with an imaginary person in his room. Anna wants to call the physician and have the Seroquel increased. I understand her thinking but want us to consider other options before antipsychotics. How can I help Anna think through another approach for George?