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Dementia (duh-men-shuh) is an illness that effects a person's memory, judgment, thinking, problem solving, speaking, and communicating. It may cause you to be confused and have problems doing activities such as driving, cooking, or bathing. You may also have changes in how you act and feel. It is a serious illness and usually gets worse. Some types of dementia may be treated with medicine and other care so that the illness develops more slowly. You may need to go into the hospital for tests and treatment.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


Dementia usually gets worse if it is not treated. In some cases, dementia can be treated or slowed with medicine. Without treatment, you may have a hard time getting along with others. You may have trouble taking care of yourself. You may accidentally put yourself or others at risk. And, dementia may cause you to get depressed. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your medicine or care.


Care Settings:

  • Inpatient Unit: This is the place where you will stay while in the hospital. It has bedrooms and a living area. Sometimes the doors of this unit are locked.
  • Partial Care Program: This is when you come to the unit every day during the day or evening. After you are treated each day, you then go home. You may need a partial care program just after you've been treated in the hospital. Or, caregivers may suggest this type of program to keep you from needing to go into the hospital.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program: This is when you come to the hospital or clinic for 1 to 3 hours of treatment. This program is usually 2 to 5 times a week for a short period of time.
  • Outpatient Program: This is when you meet with your therapist once a week or less. Appointments are one hour long or shorter. You could meet one-to-one with your therapist. Or, you might meet with your therapist in a group. You may have few or many scheduled appointments over time.


  • Psychiatrist (si-ki-uh-trist): This is a medical doctor who works in the area of mental health. The psychiatrist is in charge of ordering your medicine. You may work closely with this doctor and other caregivers.
  • Therapist: This is a caregiver that works closely with you during treatment. This person may be a doctor, psychologist (si-kall-o-jist), nurse, mental health counselor, or social worker.


  • Anti-Anxiety Medicine: This medicine may be given to help you feel less nervous. It may be given by IV, as a shot, or by mouth.
  • Anti-Convulsant (kun-vull-sunt): This medicine is given to control seizures. It may also be used to lessen violent behavior, aggression, or irritability. This medicine may also help control your mood swings. It is usually given by mouth. It may rarely be given by IV or as a shot.
  • Anti-Depressants: This medicine is given to lessen or to prevent the symptoms of depression. Dementia can cause you to feel depressed so you may need anti-depressant medicine. It is given by mouth.
  • Anti-Psychotics (si-kaw-tiks): This medicine is usually given to lessen the symptoms of psychosis or severe (very bad) agitation. Anti-psychotics are given as a shot, by mouth, or as a suppository in the anus (rear-end).
  • Anti-Parkinson's: This medicine is used to control muscle stiffness, twitches and restlessness caused by anti-psychotic medicine. It is usually given by mouth or sometimes as a shot.
  • Memory Medicines: These medicines increase the amount of certain brain chemicals to help improve your memory.
  • Mood Stabilizer (sta-buh-li-zer): You may feel very happy one moment, then very angry the next. This medicine is given to control these kinds of mood swings. It is given by mouth.
  • Psychostimulant (si-ko-stim-u-lunt): This medicine is given to improve your attention, concentration, and energy. It is given by mouth.
  • Sedatives (seh-duh-tivs)-Hypnotics (hip-nah-tiks): This medicine may be given to help your feel calmer. It is often used to help you sleep better at night. It is usually given by mouth. Sometimes it may be given by IV, as a shot, or in the rear end.

Patient Rights:

  • Release of Information Form: This is a legal paper that lets caregivers share information with those listed on this form. You have to sign this form before any information can be released to persons outside the hospital.
  • Right to Privacy: Information that you share with your caregivers is private among hospital caregivers. They will not share information with others without your permission.


  • Clothes: You may wear your own clothes while you are in the hospital.
  • Meals: You will eat your meals on the unit or in the cafeteria.
  • Personal Belongings: Caregivers search your belongings when you are admitted to the unit. Any belongings brought to you during your stay are also searched. This search is done to keep you and the staff safe.


  • 72-Hour Hold: This is when you are put in the hospital by police or a caregiver for 72 hours without your permission (OK). This may only be done if others are concerned that you may hurt yourself or others. Or, caregivers or police may not think you can safely care for yourself because you are so out of control.
  • Quiet Room: This is an empty room used for patients who need to have time out in a safe place. You may be put here if caregivers are worried that you may hurt yourself or others.
  • Restraints: There are 2 types of restraints that may be used while you are in the hospital. They will only be used if caregivers feel you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. Physical restraints may be put on your wrists or ankles and tied to something else. These are usually cloth or leather bands. Other things will always be tried before using physical restraints, such as going into a quiet room or seclusion. Or, caregivers may use "chemical" restraints which is medicine used to help you calm down and relax. Restraints should never be used to punish you.
  • Seclusion (suh-klew-shun): This is when you need to be locked in a safe room because you are out of control. The door is locked because you might want to leave the room. Caregivers will closely watch you while you are in seclusion. You may come out of seclusion when caregivers feel you will not hurt yourself or others.
  • Sharps: You are not allowed to keep any sharp items with you. Sharp items may include scissors, nail files, razors, or glass. Ask a caregiver if you need to use one of these items.
  • Time Out: This is time spent away from other people. This is usually needed when you are not able to control your behavior. You may be put in time out if your behavior is affecting others. Time out may be in your room or another room.

Types of Therapeutic Sessions:

  • Couples Therapy: You and your significant other meet with a caregiver to talk about how to cope with your illness. Your significant other may be your spouse (husband or wife) or a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Family Meetings: Your caregivers will meet with you and your family. You will talk about how to cope with your illness
  • Group Therapy: A series of meetings that you attend with other patients and staff. During these meetings, patients and staff talk together about ways to cope with illness.
  • Individual Therapy: A time for you to meet alone with your therapist. During this time you and your therapist may talk about how to cope with your illness.

Types of Therapy Approaches:

  • Cognitive Therapy helps to make you aware of how you see things. You may have trouble seeing the good in things around you. Then you are more likely to feel depressed, sad or angry. Cognitive therapy teaches you to learn how you see things in a more positive way.
  • Insight Oriented Therapy makes you think about things that have happened in the past. It helps you to understand your feelings and behavior now as it relates to past events.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.