Caring For Residents With Dementia
Published on January 26, 2018
Paragon Rehabilitation provides therapy to many seniors with dementia-related illnesses, including residents in short-term or long-term skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, home health, and outpatient settings. Our clinical team believes that regular exercise may be helpful in preventing or prolonging the effect of dementia, as outlined in a recent article by Cleveland Clinic:
“Slower gate and other gait abnormalities represent some of the earliest signs of impending cognitive impairment,” according to the article. Paragon encourages the use of standardized tests, some of which provide objective data on gait speed or gait abnormalities. Use of the tests can provide baseline data to be used as the cognitive/physical decline progresses, supports reimbursement for therapy services, and can assist with discharge planning to address safety and fall risk.
Also, “patients with dementia are at much higher risk of falls, partly due to compromised gait patterns, imbalance, and other cognitive deficits including difficulties with attention.” We participate annually in Fall Prevention Day and Senior Health and Fitness Day offering education for community members, families, caregivers, and residents.
Building a rapport with residents and families, while providing therapy across the continuum of care, allows our therapists to form relationships with residents to help understand likes/dislikes, prior social history, and daily routines. The therapists can grade therapy as the cognitive decline progresses.
Our physical/occupations/speech therapists can address all components of function in residents, including emotional, sensory, physical, and cognitive. With these specialized skills, our team can assist residents to achieve their highest level of function. Interventions can be graded to address the needs of residents in every stage of dementia, which makes the therapy services skilled while meeting the individual needs of our residents.
Paragon values the time spent training our staff to better understand stages of dementia and communication skills to engage our residents in meaningful activities, therapy services, and their own care. We have provided quarterly in-services presented in small groups to each campus, for a brief introduction to understanding the stages of dementia, communication best practices, and documentation skills. We also employ a Dementia Capable Care certified instructor, and provide full-day courses to therapists and facility staff to help provide the highest quality of care to our residents and customers.
For more information about our dementia-related therapy services, please contact us today.