Possible Intruder in House

  • Follow general advice.
  • If the person has phoned for assistance be mindful that they may have forgotten that they rang for help.
  • Introduce yourself and explain why you are there, say you are there to help.
  • If the person still believes someone is in the home, emergency service personnel follow relevant procedure.
  • If no-one is there but the person still believes they are, it could be because of one of the following:
  1. They have confused the coat stand with coats on it for a person: Put the coats out of sight.
  2. They have heard a noise such as a branch brushing against the window: Remove branch if possible.
  3. They have seen their reflection in a mirror or window and don’t recognise themselves: Cover the mirror and close the curtains.
  4. They don’t recognise their spouse or relatives:
    • Don’t refer to the spouse or relative as “this your husband or brother.” Just say this is Brian. Avoid using the relationship title as this could increase the level of distress.
    • If person continues to be anxious ask the spouse or relative to go in to another room.
    • Stay with the person with dementia.
    • Speak slowly and calmly to reduce the tension.
    • Once calm ask the spouse/relative to come back in and use their first name only. Assess the mood of the person with dementia. If they become agitated again, the separation time needs to be extended.
  5. They have had a hallucination:
    • As they have phoned for assistance they were clearly scared.
    • Stop, Look & Listen. Are they still scared? Can they still see what frightened them?
    • Don’t say “there is nothing there” this will add to their discomfort. Say “You are very scared, let me help you”
    • Use the guiding hand technique to turn them away from their vision and to look at you.
    • Lead them into another room and suggest a cup of tea.
    • Hallucinations can be caused by an infection. In your opinion do you think they need medical attention?