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Develop an alternative intervention for elderly populations experiencing Alzheimer's disease.

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Introduction

OTD Proposal: Program Development Bobby Kou University of Southern California Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Abstract This program aims to develop an alternative intervention for elderly populations experiencing Alzheimer's disease. The project will utilize both individual and group protocols that incorporate the client, family, and interdisciplinary treatment team, for the purpose of improving the service population's quality of life. Proposal category Program Development Introduction to the Problem Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neuro-degenerative disease characterized by memory loss, language deterioration, impaired visuospatial skills, poor judgment, and changes in personality. Early symptoms include impaired cognitive processing and confusion progressing toward an inability to perform simple ADL tasks. Eventually, people suffering from the disorder lose the capacity to function in daily occupations and become completely dependent on family members and other caregivers for their everyday care. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older and presents a major health problem for the United States because of its enormous impact on individuals, families, and the health care system. It is estimated that up to 4 million people currently suffer from the disorder and approximately 360,000 new cases occur each year: this number will increase as the population ages (Brookmeyer et al., 1998). ...read more.

Middle

Method Initial program development began with completion of a needs assessment of St. Barnabas Senior Service Center in order to establish knowledge of current services offered and to determine the unique concerns of the facility's service population. Extensive research was then conducted to ascertain the potential effectiveness of an AAT program and how well a therapeutic medium of this nature would complement the clinic's already existing services. Once it was determined that St. Barnabas could benefit from the addition of this form of therapy, the process of selecting an appropriate animal began. According to guidelines set by Delta Society, a national licensing organization in the field of AAT, only domesticated animals, such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, etc., can be considered for AAT. From my research, it became clear that the dog was one of the more popular choices. Breed selection then began, taking into account the distinctiveness of the population in question, unique characteristics of several dog breed, and the decision that I would raise and train the first animal to be used with the initial pilot treatment group. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus, the animal will be incorporated within the treatment, as well as act as an integral player in the occupational story-telling and story-making process of each client. The documented successes and difficulties of this initial treatment group will be evaluated after a three month period, after which adjustments will be made for possible program expansion to include a larger and more diverse service population and to incorporate other family members and their pets. Timeline Fall semester 2002 � Research of AAT literature Fall semester 2002 � Contact with breeders via email and phone; animal and breed selection Jan 2003 � Discussion of basic guidelines of new AAT program with Dr. Herb Shon and co-therapist. Early Feb 2003 � Purchase of puppy (approx. 10 wks old); basic puppy training begins Late Feb 2003 � Introduction of puppy to clinic setting and client population; AAT training begins Mar ~ May 2003� Development of AAT group/individual activities with preliminary AD participants June ~ Aug 2003 � Integration of client/family members' pets into AAT activities; Increase AAT frequency/duration and number of participants Product An occupation-based Animal-Facilitated Therapy program for older adults with Alzheimer's disease in the LA Metro area served by St. Barnabas Senior Services Center. ...read more.

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