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Exploring the 7 Stages of Dementia

Exploring the 7 Stages of Dementia
Michelle Hediger, M.S., OTR/L
February 13, 2012

Welcome everyone to “Exploring the Seven Stages of Dementia.”  Today you should all be able to identify the seven stages of dementia, and be able to discuss how the "staging" occurs and the background behind it.  You should be able to discuss and elaborate on the impact of each stage on function, activities of daily living and occupations in an individual’s daily life.  The third thing that you should be able to do is demonstrate an understanding of each stage and how it relates to evaluation and treatment in occupational therapy.  I will give a sample of these intervention strategies throughout the stages and focus on certain types of treatment.

Learning Objectives

         Identify the seven stages of dementia

         Discuss the impact of each stage on function and activities of daily living

         Demonstrate understanding of each stage as it relates to evaluation and treatment for occupational therapy


Dementia Staging

Depending on how new of a therapist you are, you might be thinking that there are three stages of dementia:  mild, moderate and severe.  Today we are going to be talking about seven stages.  If you have not had some background on this, hopefully you will become more familiar with it today.  Effective management of an individual that has dementia requires an in-depth look at not only the person’s impaired abilities, but most importantly, what are the spared or preserved capabilities that these residents have.  By being able to place your client in a stage, it will help you to determine your intervention strategies.

Dementia staging has been found to have more validity and can identify pre-morbid conditions associated with the evolution of dementia that is not differentiated by other mental status or psychometric tests.  Staging has been shown to also successfully track the latter 50% of the potential time course of dementias, such as Alzheimer's Disease (AD), more so than a typical mental status exam.  It gives you a clearer idea of exactly what you are going to be doing to treat these residents....

michelle hediger

Michelle Hediger, M.S., OTR/L

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist who currently is responsible for clinical program development and special projects for a large contract rehab provider. Prior to this role, she has held regional operations positions providing management oversight for post-acute rehab and assisted living settings. She has nearly 15 years experience as an Occupational Therapist across a variety of settings including skilled nursing, assisted and independent living, mental health and school based therapy. Her clinical areas of expertise include management and leadership, long term care programming and wellness program design and implementation. She spent four years as an Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Suffolk County Community College, New York. She is an experienced program developer who has produced and presented training courses for healthcare professionals with a variety of backgrounds, including therapists, nurses, social work and long term care administrators. Her expertise in Geriatric management and education has led her to expand rehab teams and build innovative therapy programs across the geriatric care continuum.

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