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CNA Training & Classes | December 18, 2017

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Depression

There are times in the human life when people get sad and it is a normal part of life. Depression, however, is a mood disorder which can become a great hindrance in our daily lives especially if it persists.

The more depressed we are the more damage it will do to us mentally, emotionally and physically. People who are depressed have observable signs and symptoms such as excessive sleep, crying, loss of appetite and loss in weight, extreme sadness, feeling hopeless etc. Sad events of our lives can become a source of depression especially if you lose a loved one, a family member, a friend, a pet or even coming face to face with a terminally-ill condition.

Grief & Depression

The process of grieving has different stages needed in order to be able to adjust and cope up from a depressing event.

The stages of the grief process include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are not in the exact order since some people might experience these stages differently.

Some people may experience two or three of these stages and then move on while others may not experience any of these things. The important key in the grief and loss process is moving on and being able to overcome depression and the loss.

When a person enters a stage of denial, the individual blocks out the facts by downsizing the emotions being felt. Denying the loss is a temporary reaction, which can lead the person to experience other stages.

The anger stage can be experienced by redirecting all that mixed emotions and expressing it into being angry. The expression of anger can be shown to loved ones, strangers, to the dying person or even to objects.

The bargaining stage however puts the individual into a situation where he or she negotiates with God or higher power in the hopes that the situation will change so that he or she might have done or reacted differently. This is stage where people can say statements like “if only”.

Last but not the least is the stage of acceptance. In this stage, the person finds the peace he or she needs and accepts the fact of loss. This is a stage where a person can find peace, joy and move on with their lives.

These five stages as mentioned are not in order and residents may experience them all but are still going back and forth with these stages which means they have not yet resolved their grief and loss.

Although we can say that the stage of acceptance is a stage to regain hope, it is not a guarantee that he or she may be able to find peace and joy. It depends on the resident if he or she is able to cope with all the process of grief or whatever he or she is experiencing, be able to conquer and accept the loss and then move on with his or her life.

Residents usually feel regretful of their dependence to others and the changes in their roles if they are living in a nursing home. Their loss of a loved ones can also add to the frustration that they might be experiencing.

Another factor could be a chronic health problem or illness that they may also be having. Such factors can further decrease the individual’s self-esteem which can lead to hopelessness and then depression.

Suicidal Thoughts

The more depressed a person becomes, the greater is his risk for other complications and health problems. They may lead him to suicidal thoughts/attempts, which could be problematic and more difficult to treat. People who are suicidal can be realized by paying attention to their statements and their body language.

It is important for health care team to recognize these signs and symptoms of depression and report it immediately and intervene, before it becomes too late.

Always be observant of the depressed resident’s actions and statements of signs of suicide. These signs may include but are not limited to talking about being dead, giving away personal possessions and others.

Care plan for the depressed should include removing dangerous objects from the environment which could probably be used by residents in harming themselves such as sharps, pipes, wires, cords and others.

When doing personal care or any other activities, encourage them and help them mingle with other residents in order to improve their state of mind.