Elderly Patients with Dementia

Nursing and the Importance of Human Care

Nursing, as both an academic field and a practicing profession, is guided by theories and clinical evidence to ensure that nurses provide the best possible health care to patients. Human care is the moral goal of nursing and serves as a focal point for nurses in practice. It necessitates the nurse engaging with the patient as a person, demonstrating concern and empathy, and addressing the numerous linkages between wellness and sickness. People with dementia frequently engage with nurses and other health workers because they typically require a great deal of assistance with their everyday tasks. Management of dementia, especially among the elderly, involves more participation of the patient and their caregiver, which calls for more support from nurses and other health professionals. As such, my interest in nursing practice is to provide quality care to elderly patients diagnosed with dementia.

Elderly Patients with Dementia

This group of patients is particularly important to me as they require special attention from nurses who should posses high standards of ethics and knowledge in provision of care. Dementia manifests differently in different patients, and may include other changes in addition to memory loss, such as personality changes. Patients with dementia are highly dependent on their caregivers especially in the later stages of the condition as they are usually unable to perform routine activities such as cooking, grooming, and bathing among others. As such, it takes a very experienced and patient nurse to provide quality care to such patients. This patient group is of particular interest to me in that the nurse is challenged to improve their skills in caregiving while focusing the treatment goals on the patient’s needs. Also, providing care to dementia patients requires the nurse to view the patient holistically in terms of their mind, body, and soul, while taking into consideration the context of the family and environment of the patient.

Rationale for Choosing the Person Nursing Metaparadigm

The Person metaparadigm is highly applicable to providing care to elderly dementia patients. First, this metaparadigm views the patient holistically with focus on their mind, body, and spirit. For instance, it requires the nurse to focus on building a personal relationship with the patient so that the nurse can respect and honor the patients’ values and beliefs while providing care. Such a caring relationship enables the nurse to treat patients with respect, nurture them, understand them, and provide them with assistance which is likely to result in positive patient outcomes.

Such an approach is also highly relevant to my patient population group as it guides the nurse in helping the patient achieve health and wellness. According to Sullman, Welmann, Omer & Thomas (2009), health can be described as the unity and harmony of the mind, body, and spirit. The perception of health is also highly subjective, and the nurse should view health from the patient’s perspective. Understanding the patient’s health needs and expectations can be achieved by engaging the patient in the caring process through conversations. For instance, the nurse can develop the patient’s perspective of health by asking questions such as: “Tell me about your health,” “How do you envision your life?” “What does healing mean to you?” “How does it feel like to be in your situation?”

The reciprocal relationship that develops between the nurse and the patient would also benefit the nurse in several aspects. First, such a relationship prompts the nurse to engage in creative ways of achieving patient care goals as they are often very diverse. Such creativity not only improves the critical thinking skills of the nurse but also helps them gain knowledge from a wide array of sources. Second, this approach also enables the nurse to engage in self-improvement by paying attention to their spiritual lives, going beyond the ego. Overall, the nurse benefits as they develop a greater sense of self-care and care for others, learns to listen respectfully with genuine concern, and shows respect for themselves and others.

This approach is also beneficial to the nurse as it helps to develop an open mind. Since the nurse will be required to develop a transpersonal relationship with each of the patients, she/he will be required to maintain an open mind and be prepared to learn from the patient. Patients have diverse cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and values, which define to a great extent their perceptions of health, disease, life and death. As such, the nurse will be exposed to learn as much as possible about each patient’s set of beliefs to provide them with personalized health care. Acknowledging one’s beliefs requires the nurse to maintain an open mind and work with the patient to provide them with holistic care.

Impact of the Person Metaparadigm on my Practice

The application of the Person metaparadigm to my practice will have a significant impact on the way I view health care and patient needs. First, I will be able to provide holistic care in a way that benefits both the client and me. This will be achieved by engaging more in the life of the patient, such as enquiring about their personal beliefs, their ultimate treatment goals, and what they consider important regarding health care provision. With this knowledge, routine practices such as drug administration, health education, and counseling will be highly personalized to help the patient attain their health expectations. Furthermore, such a relationship would help build a good rapport with the patient which is essential in promoting patient participation. Overall, these concept of viewing the patient holistically will guide me in helping the patients achieve a higher degree of harmony, translated through wellness and fulfillment.

Also, focusing on the Person metaparadigm will enable me to engage in self-development through constant interactions with a diverse patient population. Dementia affects elderly people from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. As such, I will have the experience of learning from the patients about the dynamics of their different societies, including how their various cultural practices affect them in terms of health. From this information, it will be possible to formulate plans of care that target the specific patients, while operating in the wider context of health care provision. Not only is this beneficial to the patients, but it also forms a basis for improving health care services to provide health solutions that are specific to different population groups. Furthermore, research has shown that improving the treatment and care process is likely to reduce mortality due to dementia by prolonging the survival of these patients (Prince et al., 2013; Testad et al., 2014).

Implementation of this concept will also result in better patient outcomes and other related benefits. Positive patient outcomes, including patient satisfaction, have been linked to individualized nursing care (Suhonen et al., 2012). With better patient outcomes, nurses and other health professionals are motivated to improve their standards of practice both at a personal and professional level. Also, patients and their caregivers become more involved and cooperative in the treatment process, reducing the workload on the nurses. The health institution also benefits from resource savings and better reviews among its clientèle. Eventually, the cumulative standard of care across the country will improve significantly. Overall, all stakeholders in the health care industry stand to benefit from a more individualized and patient-specific form of nursing care.


In conclusion, although all patients benefit from individualized health care, elderly patients diagnosed with dementia may benefit more as their interactions with health care professionals are on a continual basis. Also, these interactions occur at a more personal level to facilitate better management of the condition through providing highly individualizes plans of care. As a nurse in practice, implementing the concepts of the Person metaparadigm of nursing is likely to result in more benefits to the patient, health professionals, health institution, and health care system in general.


Prince, M., Bryce, R., Albanese, E., Wimo, A., Ribeiro, W., & Ferri, C. P. (2013). The global prevalence of dementia: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 9(1), 63-75.

Suhonen, R., Papastavrou, E., Efstathiou, G., Tsangari, H., Jarosova, D., Leino‐Kilpi, H., ... & Merkouris, A. (2012). Patient satisfaction as an outcome of individualized nursing care. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 26(2), 372-380.

Testad, I., Corbett, A., Aarsland, D., Lexow, K. O., Fossey, J., Woods, B., & Ballard, C. (2014). The value of personalized psychosocial interventions to address behavioral and psychological symptoms in people with dementia living in care home settings: a systematic review. International psychogeriatrics, 26(07), 1083-1098.

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