Ward Class

An Online Resource Site For Student Nurses


Ward Class is an online resource for student nurses. Created with the aim of helping student nurses cope with the demands of nursing school and clinicals, it offers free downloads, notes, sample NCPs, sample drug studies, study aids, news and updates, and practical tips to its users.

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The December 2012 PRC Nursing Board Exam Result is already available here at Ward Class and at Pinoy R.N.

June 2009 Nursing Board Exam Review Notes: Alzheimer's Disease

Wait, before you wrap up your review for the June 2009 Nursing Board Exam, here are some quick facts you need to know about Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer's Disease is a common topic in the nursing board exam so there is a big possibility that questions will be asked regarding the disease. Here goes:

  • Alzheimer's Disease is often referred to as Senile Dementia.
  • Alzheimer's Disease is a degenerative disease (involves loss of neurons and synapses in the cerebral cortex and certain subcortical regions) which accounts for 60-75% of all dementias and is a brain disorder which affects a person's ability to go about his daily activities.
  • The earliest recognizable symptom of Alzheimer's Disease is memory loss and diagnosis is usually made after behavioral assessments, cognitive tests, and brain scans such as CT scan and MRI. A definitive diagnosis, however, can only be made after autopsy.
  • Alzheimer's Disease usually begins after age 60 and the risk goes up as the individual grows older. The risk of having Alzheimer's Disease also increases with a familial history of the disease.
  • There are four identified stages of Alzheimer's Disease and no matter what the stage, the main focus of the caregiver is providing a safe environment for the elderly patient. Caregivers should remember that early in the disease process, the client with Alzheimer's Disease may be at risk for suicide as they may become depressed or anxious. Providing a safe environment also means checking on the client regularly, lowering the bed, using appropriate lighting, and avoiding the use of restraints.
  • Another thing to consider about individuals with Alzheimer's Disease is that they experience Sundowning or "late-day dementia", a state of confusion that occurs at the end of the day. Sundowning is aggravated by fatigue, low-lighting, and shadows. Using appropriate lighting and reorienting the client to his environment will help reduce agitation and disorientation.
  • Since patients with Alzheimer's Disease will be disoriented to time and place as the disease progresses, it is also important to establish a structured environment and simple routines. The caregiver should give the client simple directions to minimize agitation Never pressure client as this can lead to further agitation and combative behavior. It also important to help reorient the client with the use of calendars and clocks.
  • Since memory loss is the earliest recognizable symptom of Alzheimer's Disease, the caregiver should help stimulate memory by engaging the client in conversation and bringing in familiar items like photographs and items from home.
  • While a client of Alzheimer's Disease is at risk for wandering and a confined area for wandering is needed, the client should not be isolated and a stimulating environment should be provided.
  • Clients with late-stage Alzheimer's Disease require assistance with all activities of daily living. The caregiver at this point should focus on providing adequate hydration and nutrition as well as assisting with elimination.
  • The most common medications for Alzheimer's Disease are tacrine (Cognex), donezepil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), or galantamine (Reminyl). Ony donezepil (Aricept) is approved for the treatment of advanced-stage Alzheimer's Disease. When giving these drugs, watch out for bradycardia and side effects like anorexia, weight loss, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
Well, I hope this helps. Good luck, future nurses!

Note: Ward Class and Pinoy R.N. will be posting updates on PRC Room Assignments, last-minute reminders, board exam tips, and exam results for the June 2009 PRC Nursing Board Exam.

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