Excellence in Action- Just getting warmed up! Overcoming fear and decreasing risk through person-centered interventions.

Our team in Alexandria, LA was asked by nursing staff if there was anything, they could do to help one of their long-term residents, who suffers from epilepsy.  Recently, the frequency, duration, and severity of the resident’s seizures had been increasing, so the nursing staff reached out to the therapy department for help.

Knowing that individuals with epilepsy typically experience decreased functional mobility and decreased ADL and iADL performance, our team got to work quickly to help identify the cause of the seizures and to help the resident identify any triggers or “signals” his body gave him before he had a seizure. This would help reduce fall risk and lessen the overall damage from the seizures and the falls combined.

Through person-centered intervention, our therapists realized that the resident had many (unrecognized) fears of injuring himself.  Speech therapy implemented self-awareness training into their interventions, and as a result, the resident learned that he is often an accomplice to his own outcomes. This training included keeping a record of when his dizziness (or as the resident calls it “the mind fuzzies”) occurred, how long it lasted, and what he was doing just before onset.

Occupational Therapy’s focus was activity participation, strength and endurance training, social participation with other residents and staff, and safety with ADLs.  With the help of our Occupational and Speech Therapists, the resident was able to identify triggers leading to over-stimulation, which included video games and other activities which challenged his visual perception.

Our Physical Therapy team aided in in the resident’s progress as well, through balance and fall prevention training, using TMC’s Balancing Act specialty program.  As part of the program, they completed stress tests, standardized fall assessments, and implemented ambulation techniques, safety training, and fall recovery training.

Once his seizure triggers were identified, our team focused their therapy interventions around overexposure. They also aimed to restructure the patient’s fear into functional safety by decreasing his avoidance behaviors through gradually exposing him to more complex and demanding tasks. The increased sensory input from therapy has provided additional help for Mr. H.  The tasks and activities that were initially overwhelming became his warm-ups.

Through risk-focused, proactive therapy interventions from our TMC therapists, this resident has gone from having 4-5 falls a month to having NONE!  The staff has noticed a major difference in his balance and in his communication of needs, making him much safer overall.  Even after therapy discharge, the resident continues to keep his notebook and makes a point to let our staff know if he notices anything new or different.

In Alexandria, LA, we are making a positive difference in the lives of ALL the residents we serve, through the skills of our hands and the integrity of our hearts.