Alzheimer’s Disease Case Study


M.E. is a 62-year-old woman who has a 5-year history of progressive forgetfulness. She is no longer able to care for herself, has become increasingly depressed and paranoid, and recently started a fire in the kitchen. After extensive neurologic evaluation, M.E. is diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease.

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Her husband and children have come to the Alzheimer’s unit at your ECF (extended-care facility) for information about this disease and to discuss the possibility of placement for M.E. You reassure the family that you have experience dealing with the questions and concerns of most people in their situation.

  • How would you explain Alzheimer’s disease to the family?
  • The husband asks, “How did she get Alzheimer’s? We don’t know anyone else who has it.” How would you respond?
  • After asking the family to describe M.E.’s behavior, you determine that she is in stage two of Alzheimer’s three stages. Describe common S/S for each stage of the disease.

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  • The daughter expresses frustration at the number of tests M.E. had to undergo and the length of time it took for someone to diagnosis M.E.’s problem. What tests are likely to be performed and how is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed? The husband states, “How are you going to take care of her? She wanders around all night long. She can’t find her way to the bathroom in a house she’s lived in for 43 years. She can’t be trusted to be alone any more; she almost burnt the house down. We’re all exhausted; there are three of us, and we can’t keep up with her.” You acknowledge how exhausted they must be from trying to keep her safe. You tell the family that there is no known treatment but Alzheimer’s units have been created to to provide a structured, safe environment for each person.

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  • Describe the Alzheimer’s-related nursing interventions R/T(related to) each of the following nursing care problems: self-care deficits, disturbed sleep pattern, impaired…
  • M.E.’s son asks what different medications might be prescribed for M.E. How would you describe the purpose of antiseizure, cognitive, antipsychotic, antidepressive, or sedative medications for a patient like M.E.? You try to comfort the family by telling them that the problems they are experiencing are very common. You explain that family support is a major focus of your program.

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