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Common Neurological Diseases

Common neurological disorders as well as your role as a homemaker or a home health aide.

Three common neurological diseases are Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Clients who have these diseases usually remain in their home, using adaptive aids. Although the diseases are different, there are many similarities in the care of these clients. All three diseases result in the need for assistance with care, attention to safety, and support for clients and their families. As these diseases progress, clients require a great deal of personal care and protection. Their ability to respond to changes and slight infections becomes progressively less.

CAUSES OF THE THREE DISEASES

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease that affects the part of the brain controlling movement and balance. The first signs are usually tremors of the hands or legs, difficulty walking, and slowness of movement. Other symptoms may be changes in vision, drooling, difficulty swallowing, and inability to control bowel and bladder function. The cause of the disease is unknown, but clients respond to drug therapy that replaces certain chemicals they seem to be lacking. People with this disease often work many years after the diagnosis. Drugs must be carefully and continuously regulated. Side effects from the drugs often occur many years after the therapy has started. Sometimes, clients may appear to be getting better and conclude that they no longer need the medication or may change their routines. This is a great mistake and should be reported to their physicians immediately.

Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease that affects the transmission of impulses through the central nervous system. The first signs are usually fatigue, emotional changes, and difficulty with speech. This disease affects young adults with young families who are in the first stages of their careers. The people who have this disease often work for many years if they are protected from infection and have a safe environment . Medications help some people, but no medication has been found useful for all clients. The cause is unknown, and the course of the disease varies.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive disease that degenerates then neurons. The cause is unknown, and most clients die within 3 years of diagnosis. Many of these clients choose to stay at home. They need assistance with all aspects of personal care and maintenance of a safe environment.

You Role as a Homemaker/Home Health Aide

Treatment is prescribed by a physician. Support the clients and their families as they follow the regime. Most clients find it important to follow the same routine every day. This may seem difficult for people who like variety, but these clients find the same routine comforting. They know what to expect. They know how it will affect them. Assist them as they incorporate the regimes into their daily lives. If you have suggestions for change, discuss them with the clients and their families. Do not change the routine without first telling everyone involved. Areas of concern are:

  • Medication. It must be taken as prescribed and should not be stopped unless the client's physicians are notified. Report clients' reactions to medication. Be sure to report the slightest changes as they may indicate that dosage changes are necessary.
  • Regular exercise. This can take the form of active or passive exercise. It could be walking, swimming, or riding a bike. Exercises should be supervised and done regularly. Report fatigue or pain. Be alert to safety needs during exercise. Clients who tire easily should have several short exercise periods rather than one long one. Do not alter the exercise routines without discussing the changes with your supervisor.
  • Nutritional intake. Small meals high in nutrients and fiber are important. Swallowing liquids may be difficult, so monitor fluid intake. Safety is important. Be sure foods are an acceptable temperature and not too hot. Pieces of food should be small enough to chew easily. Report bowel and bladder changes.
  • Support. Do not be judgmental. Support the family members in their roles. Be alert to changes in roles. Family members, as well as clients, often need to voice their feelings of frustration, fear, and fatigue. Listen attentively. Offer to put them in touch with professional counselors if they-wish. Discussing feelings can be helpful to both the clients and the caregivers.

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Comments (2)

Very informative and interesting article, and very well written. Thanks for the info.

thank you.. I'm glad you liked it!

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