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Tip of the Week: Innovative means of reducing agitation in dementia patients

Do you know anyone with dementia that is often agitated? An article published in December 2013 in the Johns Hopkins Magazine, showed the workings and findings of nurse, researcher, and professor, Laura Gitlin.  She found that keeping consistent schedules of ADLs (activities of daily living) helped patient’s physically and their caregivers felt less burdened; however, their behavioral symptoms persisted, namely and commonly agitation.

Gitlin is now studying a new anti-agitation treatment, called TAP or tailored activity program, using activities rather than medication to benefit both the patient and caregiver.  Commonly, dementia patients with agitation are prescribed medication to alleviate negative behaviors.  But with TAP, occupational therapists prescribed individualistic routines of activities that would intrigue and engage the patient with dementia based on their own needs, abilities, and interests.   The treatment was used with both at-home patients and inpatients.  Results showed that practicing TAP exhibited positive behavioral changes; in other words, less agitation.  These tailored activities “give them a sense of dignity and purpose and meaning.” 

TAP can easily be adopted into your own home, with family and/or caregivers.  All it takes is a little bit of observation, some planning and scheduling of routines, and consistent execution.  The result?  Hopefully a less agitated loved one!

 

To read the full article, visithttp://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2013/winter/dementia-agitation-activities-program

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