Functional Rehabilitation for People with Dementia

ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan, in conjunction with Memory Clinic, Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), and Yashoda Hospitals, Somajiguda, organized two 1-day "Functional Rehabilitation for Persons with Dementia" training workshops on July 31 - August 1, for family and professional caregivers, healthcare professionals and social workers.

The workshop was conducted by Ms. Krithika Seshadri, consultant at Nightingales Medical Trust, Bangalore and an occupational therapist for the past 15 years, with a Masters in Rehabilitation Science, specializing in geriartic neurology from the University Of Indianapolis, USA. She has been the director of dementia care units and is a certified special care director. She has collaborated with experts of international stature in environmental modification and dementia specific architecture ,including work at the Center of Excellence specializing in Alzheimer's Research, Western Australia.

The event marked a milesone in the local chapter's initiatives as it embarks on a series of training sessions in the coming months, conducted by experts in dementia care, to bridge the gap in service provision of dementia. The functional rehabilitation workshops were attended by more than 60 people, including family caregivers, ARDSI volunteers, and representatives from organizations and hospitals specializing in geriatic care - Nursing and Physiotherapy Colleges, and Memory Clinic, NIMS, Nursing/Physiotherapy/ Dept of Neurology Yashoda Hospital, AASARA/GHMC, HelpAge india, Health and Management Research Institute (HMRI), Pain Relief and Palliative Care Society, MNJ Cancer Hospital, Sweekar Rehabilitation Institute, Helen Keller's Institute of Research and Rehabilitation, and MEANS Old Age home.

Dr. Jaydip Ray Chaudhuri, Head, Department of Neurology, Yashoda Hospitals opened the sessions on July 31. The opening talks by Dr. Suvarna Alladi (Associate Professor, Neurology, NIMS and President, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan) on July 31 and Dr. Chandasekhar (Consultant Psychiatrist, ASHA Hospitals and Vice-President ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan) on August 1, introduced and emphasized the role of functional rehabilitation in dementia. Functional Rehabilitation is a core component of dementia care as laid down by the Report of Quality Standards Subcommittee of the Ameirican Academy of Neurology whose recommendation includes graded assistance supplemented by practice and positive reinforcement shown to improve performance in daily activities in patients.

Ms. Krithika Seshadri educated the trainees about the primary focus in dementia management being enabling the patient and their family in attaining highest level of functional potential. Treatment approach includes education of caregivers, hands on therapy for patient, environmental modification and ongoing support. The impact of functional decline on the patient, family and community, functional interventions for Basic Activties of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting and Instrumental ADLs (cooking, Paying Bills, Telephone conversations) were discussed. The use of assistive devices for feeding and mobility was also discussed. There were brainstorm and group exercises and demonstration of strategies for bed mobility/transfers,ambulation and stairs.

The immense experience of Ms Seshadri and passion for quality dementia care made a remarkable impact on the trainees, its most important take-aways being - scientific approach to caregiving, advocacy of documented and evidence based treatment approaches, simplified therapy approach to incorporatng activities in the daily routines of patients.

The final day concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Shashidhar (Treasurer, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan) to Krithika for a highly motivating session, to Yashoda Hospitals for facilitating the excellent sessions, and to all attendees who took time out of their personal and professional schedules to attend the workshop.