Nov 17

Academic detailing as a way to inform family members

The administrator at the home introduced me to the academic detailer and we all thought it would be a great idea to conduct a family council meeting about Managing Dementia to interested family members.

The service was very educational and gave families the opportunity to ask many questions focused on the topic being presented. It was a very educational method for family members to address difficult issues they are confronted with in an environment where they can speak openly.

During our conversation with the detailer, we talked about Managing Dementia. It covered the history, types of dementia, and their causes and behaviours. We also looked at how to manage dementia either through non-drug techniques or with the use of drugs. The different types of drugs were discussed which gave family members a chance to ask specific questions about those drugs and to relate their understanding of the side effects.

We discussed many things we can do non-medically to manage difficult behaviours and to also identify the triggers. The use of antipsychotic drugs were a great concern to many family members. They are afraid their family members are given too much medication. This part of the presentation and the level of detail was very important. Family members expressed concern and no knowledge of the use of antipsychotic drugs. We discussed when antipsychotic drugs can help, if antipsychotic drugs are harmful, their risks, the side effects and the need to monitor residents on antipsychotic drugs every 3 to 6 months. We also discussed the need for family members and substitute decision makers to be part of the care team.

Academic detailing provides families with more information about the care of their loved ones so that families can also be more aware and interactive regarding the pursuit of practical practice improvements. The presentation was very targeted on a few topics and Barbara Ramsay was very connected with the audience’s (family member’s) concerns and spent time to ensure that their concerns were addressed as we proceeded. It gave family members a better understanding of Managing Dementia so that we can communicate more effectively with Long Term Care staff and the family doctor. It also gave more detailed information so we can ask more direct questions to the LTC Home and the doctors to better advocate for our family members.

– Gerry Armstrong, family council chair, Forest Hill