Excellence in Action! – Improving the Lives of Those with Dementia and Their Families

OTR/L Lori from our
Paramus, NJ Team!

Upon admission, OTR/L Lori performed a Cognitive Evaluation on her patient with dementia. The patient’s late stage dementia fell into the Red Level Category in TMC’s Color My World Program. Thanks to the knowledge Lori gained during her Dementia Capable Care Course, provided by TMC, she knew the importance of creating goals specific to her patient.

Lori first built a relationship with him, learning more about his routine and figuring out the best approach for his best ability to function. She used the Dementia Capable Care Treatment Plan Formula of creating “Just the Right Challenge,” incorporating his “Can Do” abilities, with his “Will Do” interests, in order to impact his “May Do” possibilities for his goals and functional maintenance program.

Using a sensory approach and activities specific to those in the Red Level Category, music was used as auditory stimuli, facial expressions for visual stimuli, and hand holding for tactile stimuli. She also incorporated dancing tasks to address his balance.

Based on his evaluation and level of cognition using the Allen Diagnostic Module, she also performed gross body movement activities with items and actions that were particularly meaningful to him. Because he previously played tennis, Lori utilized a tennis racket, balloons and tennis balls to work on gross motor tasks, having him tap the balloon and tennis balls appropriately with the racket.

When his wife and daughter came to visit, they were educated on how he participated during the tasks, how to approach and conduct the activities with him, and how incorporating activities, such as modified tennis, would promote his best ability to function. His family, as well as the nursing staff, were also educated on his functional maintenance program to help continue his progress.

After the very first session, his wife sought out our therapy department’s Therapy Care Navigator (TCN)/Rehab Director (RD) to express how impressed she was with what Lori was doing to improve her husband’s engagement within his environment. She, herself, was formerly a special education teacher, having worked with children with special needs for years. With her knowledge, she had previously tried several methods to engage her husband, but nothing had worked. She was very thankful, as she was already seeing some response from her husband after just one session of working with Lori.

The patient’s wife spoke to our TCN/RD one month later, praising Lori’s efforts once again and thanking her immensely. Now her visits with her husband had purpose. She utilizes the techniques learned from OT sessions to better engage her husband and sees more of response from him than before. These techniques have helped her so much that she has educated other family members and friends who visit so they can have more meaningful visits with him as well.

Dementia doesn’t just affect the person diagnosed with it. It also affects their loved ones in more ways than one. As a Dementia Capable Care Society Leader, we’re proud to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of those with dementia, one patient at a time.