Computer-Mediated Cognitive-Communicative Intervention for Residents with Dementia in a Special Care Unit: An Exploratory Investigation Residents of “lockdown” dementia units, also referred to as “Special Care Units” of skilled nursing facilities, constitute a population of rapidly escalating needs. These entail rising demands for speech-language pathology services to treat and manage symptoms of dementia. This article recounts an exploratory investigation of rehabilitation sessions with an elderly ... Article
Article  |   October 26, 2016
Computer-Mediated Cognitive-Communicative Intervention for Residents with Dementia in a Special Care Unit: An Exploratory Investigation
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Whitney Anne Postman
    Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
    Financial: Whitney Anne Postman is an assistant professor at Saint Louis University.
    Financial: Whitney Anne Postman is an assistant professor at Saint Louis University.×
  • Nonfinancial: Whitney Anne Postman has previously published in this subject area.
    Nonfinancial: Whitney Anne Postman has previously published in this subject area.×
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Professional Issues & Training / Part 2
Article   |   October 26, 2016
Computer-Mediated Cognitive-Communicative Intervention for Residents with Dementia in a Special Care Unit: An Exploratory Investigation
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, October 2016, Vol. 1, 68-78. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG15.68
History: Received March 12, 2016 , Revised April 15, 2016 , Accepted April 28, 2016
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, October 2016, Vol. 1, 68-78. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG15.68
History: Received March 12, 2016; Revised April 15, 2016; Accepted April 28, 2016

Residents of “lockdown” dementia units, also referred to as “Special Care Units” of skilled nursing facilities, constitute a population of rapidly escalating needs. These entail rising demands for speech-language pathology services to treat and manage symptoms of dementia. This article recounts an exploratory investigation of rehabilitation sessions with an elderly resident of a Special Care Unit, using a new computer-based program targeting cognitive-communicative capacities. Preliminary results suggest that this resident with moderate dementia achieved a higher degree of functional recovery and superior quality of life than would have been possible with more traditional therapeutic approaches alone. An iPad-based software platform was used to administer tasks to train attention, working memory, and executive functions. The resident demonstrated significant gains in task performance that were coupled with increased independence and safety, enhanced participation in non-computerized therapeutic tasks, adaptation to surroundings, and reduction of negative behaviors. The resident's improved cognitive-communicative performance was sufficient to warrant a transfer to a long-term care wing within the same facility. This proof of concept demonstration invites formulation of testable hypotheses, which should be pursued in future research on optimizing interventions for institutionalized people with dementia using leading-edge computerized therapies.

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