Since early June, an interdisciplinary team made up of professionals in the field of psychogeriatrics within our CIUSSS has been working together and offering their services to help manage behaviour and psychological problems linked to dementia.
The aim of the BPSD (Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia) team is to help caregivers – either at home, hospital or in a long-term care setting – manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia through interpersonal, environmental, and behavioural approaches.
Team members completed an intensive 20-hour training to develop the necessary skills and competencies required to screen, evaluate and treat clients with BPSD. The team meets on a weekly basis to look over the requests and determine whose expertise would be best put to use depending on the nature of each request.
Team member Allana Goodman, an Occupational Therapist working out of the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry (ICFP), says she’s motivated by the team’s vision and values of a non-pharmacological approach.
“This approach was evident during a recent evaluation with a client who has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease who was referred to the BPSD team due to experiencing severe agitation and verbal aggression,” Ms. Goodman explains. “Through the use of activity I was able to determine that she is connected to classical music, has a passion for animals, and enjoys colouring. I observed an immediate change in her mood and level of agitation through the implementation of a meaningful and purposeful activity. Colouring while listening to classical music reduced her level of agitation, promoted a sense of calmness and enabled us to build a therapeutic rapport.”
In taking the time to assess the client’s needs and learn what resonated with her, Ms. Goodman came up with a simple solution. She recommended a music player be provided for the client, so she could be soothed doing an activity she enjoyed during transition periods that were proving difficult, such as bedtime or getting dressed. The client will be re-assessed in a few weeks to determine how effective the new behavioural approach has been.
Ms. Goodman says this case in particular demonstrates how a simple shift in approach is often all that is needed when it comes to managing behaviours in people diagnosed with dementia.
“There is commonly a stigmatizing belief that clients with a diagnosis of moderate-severe dementia are not capable of participating in activities or their treatment process,” Ms. Goodman says. “However, as an OT on the BPSD team I have seen firsthand the value of activity and the importance of implementing a holistic and person-centered approach.”
- The GASMA (Guichet d’Accès Santé Mentale Adulte)form must be completed and sent by fax to: 514-731-5337
- Telephone consultations can also be arranged by phoning: 514-340-8222, extension 27506
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