Follow the research
Caring for people living with dementia requires a compassionate understanding of the disease and specialized strategies for providing care. The quality of life for residents living with moderate to severe levels of dementia depends largely on the quality of care provided by a team of care professionals, including therapeutic recreationists, activation specialists, personal support workers, and family members. From the onset, it has been our aim to ensure that the technological approaches we develop supports these true heroes – our front-line care practitioners.
Dementia is a significant quality of care challenge for our time, the magnitude of affects growing as our society ages. As there is presently no cure for dementia, care-giving focus currently gravitates around interventions that maintain, provide, and promote quality of life and well-being for those who live with dementia. People who live with moderate to severe levels of dementia will reside in LTC facilities as they require an advanced level of trained intervention, in a supportive environment that would be impractical to deliver in home care. Many people living with dementia in LTC environments are under-stimulated and socially isolated. While there has been an increase in activities and programming based on occupational therapy, recreational therapy, music therapy, physiotherapy, and so on, such programs can cover only a fraction of the day for people with dementia. The result is that many people with dementia who are institutionalized will spend most of the day either in their rooms or wandering the hallways. A related problem is that people with dementia often have difficulty with social interactions and may become anxious or aggressive around people they do not recognize, or in situations they do not understand. Resulting behavioural disturbances may lead to drug medication/ overmedication, physical restraints, and poor quality of life (QoL). Conversations with front-line caregivers that include therapeutic recreationists, PSW’s and family members indicate that the number one and immediate concern for caregivers is managing disruptive, disturbing, and agitated behaviours.
Manifestations of disturbing behaviour associated with moderate to severe levels of dementia, such as wandering, hitting and verbal abuse, and disrobing have been consistently related to caregiver burden in
LTC environments. The need to attend to agitated behaviours in these environments is immediate, 24/7, and always takes priority. Complicating matters is a demographic shift towards an aging population that implies fewer younger people will be available to attend to the needs of an aging society.
Along the way we have partnered with academic institutions and research foundations across Canada to conduct both formal and informal research assessments, to ensure that we are providing evidence-based solutions that provide meaningful support and real value to entire care community.
Journeys to Engagement
University of Toronto 2017-2018
ABBY‘s ability to manage responsive behaviours has been assessed in six long-term care homes across Ontario. In a research evaluation conducted by the University of Toronto over an eight-month period in 2017-18, a variety of outcomes, including resident aggression, agitation, depression, cognition, use of anti-psychotic medication, as well as staff strain and family/visitor satisfaction were measured.