Alzheimer’s disease is emerging as a major health challenge for the 21st century. The reported case study discusses a 74-year-old woman with dementia of the Alzheimer type who sustained a head injury when she fell down the basement stairs. Differentiating the head injury from the preexisting dementia was complicated and required creative and astute assessment. Objective assessment tools discussed include the Mini-Mental State Examination, a delirium guide, and the Tinetti assessment tool. Predisposition to delirium is significant because of the comorbidities associated with cognitive impairment and head injury. Interventions to prevent delirium are recommended.
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Acute Care of the Aging Client| February 01 2002
The Challenge of Assessing a Patient With Dementia and Head Injury
Arlene Horner, RN, MS, CNS;
From the Sioux Valley Hospital University Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD.
Reprint requests to Arlene Horner, RN, MS, CNS, Sioux Valley Hospital University Medical Center, 1100 South Euclid Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5039 (e-mail: Hornera@siouxvalley.org).
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Michelle VanDemark, RN, MS, CNS, CNRN;
AACN Adv Crit Care (2002) 13 (1): 73–83.
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Arlene Horner, Michelle VanDemark, Gwenneth A. Jensen; The Challenge of Assessing a Patient With Dementia and Head Injury. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 February 2002; 13 (1): 73–83. doi:
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