Alzheimer's Care Plan

Alzheimer's disease care plans are valuable for efficient and effective care. Utilize this guide and free care planning template to deliver Alzheimer's care confidently.

By Harriet Murray on Jun 03, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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Introduction to Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease, a progressive neurological disorder, stands as one of the most prevalent forms of dementia globally, profoundly impacting memory, thinking, and behavior. Named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first identified it in 1906, this disease gradually deteriorates brain and nerve cells, leading to a decline in cognitive abilities and functional independence.

Alzheimer's subtly affects memory and cognitive function, often manifesting as forgetfulness or occasional confusion. As it advances, individuals experience a progressive decline in memory recall, reasoning, and problem-solving skills, disrupting daily life activities and impairing judgment. Communication challenges emerge, making it increasingly difficult to articulate thoughts or follow conversations. Changes in mood and personality become apparent, leading to shifts in behavior, agitation, or withdrawal from social interactions.

The prominent feature of Alzheimer's is the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits—amyloid plaques and tau tangles—in the brain. These deposits disrupt communication between neurons, causing them to degenerate and eventually die. This process leads to the widespread loss of brain tissue, particularly in areas associated with memory and cognitive function.

The disease progression varies among individuals, but as it advances, Alzheimer's renders individuals increasingly dependent on others for daily tasks and personal care. Eventually, individuals lose the ability to recognize loved ones and navigate familiar surroundings. In its later stages, Alzheimer's poses significant challenges to the health concerns of both individuals and their caregivers, necessitating round-the-clock care and support.

While age is the primary risk factor for Alzheimer's, it can also affect younger individuals, termed early-onset Alzheimer's, though less commonly. Genetic factors, lifestyle choices, and underlying health conditions also contribute to the risk factors for disease development.

Alzheimer's remains incurable, and current treatments aim to manage symptoms, temporarily alleviate cognitive decline, and improve quality of life. Ongoing research focuses on understanding the disease's mechanisms, exploring potential treatments, and identifying early biomarkers for accurate diagnosis.

As the global population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer's continues to rise, posing significant challenges to healthcare systems, families, and society as a whole. Effective management and support systems, early detection, and ongoing research are crucial in addressing the multifaceted impact of Alzheimer's disease on individuals and communities.

Printable Alzheimer's Care Plan

Download this Alzheimer's Care Plan to create a systematic approach to the daily care needs of individuals with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease diagnosis

Diagnosing Alzheimer's disease involves a comprehensive assessment that considers various factors. While there's no single test to confirm the diagnosis, physicians use a combination of medical history, cognitive assessments, physical exams, and sometimes, imaging and laboratory tests to evaluate symptoms and rule out other possible causes of cognitive impairment.

Medical history and physical examination

  • The process begins with a detailed discussion about the individual's symptoms, medical history, and changes in behavior or cognition noticed by the individual or their family.
  • An in-depth physical examination helps rule out other medical conditions that might reflect Alzheimer's symptoms.

Cognitive and neurological assessments

  • Cognitive tests evaluate memory, problem-solving skills, attention span, language abilities, and other cognitive functions. These tests help assess the severity and progression of cognitive decline.
  • Neurological exams assess reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and sensation to identify neurological issues or changes.

Imaging studies

  • Imaging techniques like MRI or CT scans can help detect structural changes in the brain. These scans may reveal shrinkage of brain regions associated with Alzheimer's or rule out other causes.
  • PET scans using specialized tracers may detect amyloid plaques or tau tangles in the brain, supporting the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Laboratory tests

  • Blood tests are typically conducted to rule out other potential causes of cognitive decline, such as vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, or infections.

Assessment over time

  • Diagnosis might involve monitoring cognitive functions and symptoms over time to observe patterns of decline, confirming the condition's progressive nature.

A definitive Alzheimer's diagnosis is often made by excluding other conditions that may cause similar symptoms. A multidisciplinary approach involving neurologists, geriatricians, psychiatrists, and neuropsychologists contributes to a more accurate diagnosis.

Early and accurate diagnosis allows for appropriate management, interventions, and planning for the individual's care needs. It also offers an opportunity to explore available treatments and participate in clinical trials that might slow the disease's progression or alleviate symptoms.

Nursing care plans for Alzheimer's disease progression

Nursing care plans for Alzheimer's disease aim to address the progressive cognitive decline, behavioral changes, and daily care needs of individuals affected by the condition. These nursing diagnosis plans involve a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on supportive care, safety, and promoting the individual's quality of life throughout the stages of the disease.

Early stage:

  • Promoting independence: Encouraging and supporting the individual in maintaining independence in daily activities while providing cues and reminders for self-care activities as needed.
  • Safety measures: Implement safety measures to prevent wandering or accidents at home, such as installing door alarms and securing potentially hazardous areas.
  • Cognitive stimulation: Engaging in cognitive activities, puzzles, and memory exercises to stimulate mental function and slow cognitive decline.
  • Medication management: Assisting with medication adherence and monitoring for side effects of prescribed medications.

Middle stage:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs): Providing hands-on assistance with personal care activities like bathing, dressing, and toileting as the individual's abilities decline.
  • Behavioral support: Managing behavioral symptoms or changes like agitation, aggression, or wandering through non-pharmacological interventions, such as redirection, calming techniques, or creating a soothing environment.
  • Nutritional support: Ensuring proper nutrition and hydration by offering easily manageable meals and encouraging regular intake of fluids.
  • Family education and support: Providing education and emotional support to family members or caregivers to help them cope with the challenges of caregiving and understand the disease's progression.

Late stage:

  • Full assistance with ADLs: Providing complete assistance with all personal care activities as the individual's functional abilities decline significantly.
  • Comfort care: Focusing on comfort measures, pain management, and maintaining dignity and quality of life.
  • Communication strategies: Using non-verbal communication methods, comforting touch, and familiar routines to maintain connections and reduce distress.
  • End-of-life care planning: Collaborate with family members to establish end-of-life care preferences and provide compassionate care during this stage.
  • Throughout all stages, continual assessment and adaptation of the care plan are crucial to meet the evolving needs of the individual with Alzheimer's disease. Interdisciplinary collaboration involving nurses, physicians, social workers, therapists, and other healthcare professionals helps ensure holistic care tailored to the individual's changing condition and needs.

How does this care plan work?

Step One: Gather your resources

Alzheimer's Care Plans are a valuable resource and essential to keep on hand. Make sure that you have a copy of the free printable PDF when the need arises by either clicking the “Download Template” or “Use Template” button or by searching “Alzheimer's Care Plan” on Carepatron’s template library’s search bar on the website or app.

Step Two: Collate essential information

Once the patient has been diagnosed and assessed for Alzheimer's, utilizing the Alzheimer's Care Plan Template to ensure all goals of care are met is seamless and easily accessible to relevant parties via Carepatron's centralized workspace.

Assessment, symptom management, and interventions can be collated within the single care plan and safely stored on a single database. The care plan allows for individualized treatment options. It acts as a scaffolding to ensure goals of care are met, and the next steps are recorded for future reference or distribution to other healthcare specialists who are part of the patient's care team. 

Step Three: Store the chart securely

After reviewing the Alzheimer's Care Plan and creating a viable and individualized plan for the patient, you need to secure the plan so that access is only granted to relevant parties. 

Ensure this through Carepatrons HIPAA-compliant free patient records software. Here, all relevant medical records can be safely stored and collated for ease and security. 

Alzheimer's Care Plan example (sample)

Eager to utilize this essential care planning tool? Acquire a free, downloadable, and printable Alzheimer's Care Plan Template PDF with fictional data to help you confidently track your patient's needs or act as an educational tool. 

Our crafted sample template is designed to assist you in efficiently utilizing the chart and evaluating the goals of care for patients who have Alzheimer's. It includes dedicated sections for evaluation, interventions, and symptom tracking. 

Secure your copy by either previewing the sample below or clicking the "Download Example PDF" button.

Download the Alzheimer's Care Plan example (sample) here:

Alzheimer's Care Plan example (sample)

Why use Carepatron as your nursing software?

Selecting Carepatron as your preferred application for creating Alzheimer's Care Plans offers numerous advantages for healthcare practitioners.

Carepatron provides a centralized workspace, allowing you to manage clinical documents and electronic patient records, set patient appointment reminders, and handle medical billing seamlessly and efficiently within the platform, eliminating the need for additional software downloads. This integrated and comprehensive approach simplifies and streamlines processes and tasks related to Alzheimer's management, care, and various other activities, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to focus most of your time, attention, and effort on patient care.

Carepatron is dedicated to offering a highly efficient and productive platform for thousands of healthcare professionals, allowing you to customize tools and workflows to meet your unique needs. Additionally, it empowers practitioners and patients to manage administrative tasks such as service booking and completing paperwork. The easy sharing of essential documents and data through the app ensures a top-quality customer experience.

We strongly believe in providing radical accessibility, making our app available on any device you have at your disposal. Our portable medical dictation software simplifies clinical note-making and updates, ensuring an effortless process. With great accessibility comes great responsibility, and we prioritize the security of all notes, clinical records, results, and practitioner data by complying with global security requirements, including HIPAA, GDPR, and HITRUST.

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References

Dixon, J., Karagiannidou, M., & Knapp, M. (2018). The effectiveness of advance care planning in improving end of life outcomes for people with dementia and their carers: a systematic review and critical discussion. J. Pain Symptom Managent, 55(1), 132–151.

Karlawish, J., Jack, C. R., Rocca, W. A., Snyder, H. M., & Carrillo, M. C. (2017). Alzheimer’s disease: The next frontier—Special Report 2017. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 13(4), 374–380. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2017.02.006

Prince, M., Wimo, A., Gherchet, M., Ali, G., Wu, Y., & Prina, M. (2015). World alzheimer's association, report 2015: the global impact of dementia (pp. 10–35). alzheimer’s disease international.

Sampson, E. L., Candy, B., & Jones, L. (2009). Enteral tube feeding for older people with advanced dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd007209.pub2

Sellars, M., Chung, O., Nolte, L., Tong, A., Pond, D., Fetherstonhaugh, D., McInerney, F., Sinclair, C., & Detering, K. M. (2018). Perspectives of people with dementia and carers on advance care planning and end-of-life care: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Palliative Medicine, 33(3), 274–290. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216318809571

Sundore, R., Heyland, D., Lum, H., Rietjens, J., Korfage, I., Ritchie, C., & You, J. (2018). Outcomes that define successful advance care planning: a Delphi panel consensus. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 55(2), 245–255.

WHO. (2012). a public health priority. Dementia 1-4. World Health Organization .

What components should be included in an Alzheimer's care plan?
What components should be included in an Alzheimer's care plan?

Commonly asked questions

What components should be included in an Alzheimer's care plan?

Alzheimer's care plans should encompass a comprehensive approach, considering the individual's needs. Components include safety measures to prevent wandering, assistance with daily activities, cognitive stimulation, behavioral interventions, medication management, nutritional support, and end-of-life care considerations as the disease progresses. Family education and support are integral parts of the Alzheimer's care plan.

How often should an Alzheimer's care plan be reviewed or updated?

Regular reviews and updates are crucial as the disease evolves. Care plans should be reviewed every three to six months or more frequently if significant changes occur in the individual's condition. These reviews allow adjustments to the individual's changing needs, ensuring that the care plan remains practical and relevant.

What role do family members or caregivers play in Alzheimer's care plans?

Family members and caregivers are pivotal in caring for individuals with Alzheimer's. They implement the care plan, provide day-to-day support, and ensure the individual's safety and well-being. Additionally, caregivers are essential in communicating changes or concerns about the individual's condition to healthcare professionals and actively participating in care plan reviews and updates. They also benefit from education, support groups, and respite services to manage the challenges associated with caregiving.

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