Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Caregiver Conference Part 2

As a continuation of the Caregiver Conference the next presenter was Kyle Mamiya, Speech Pathology Seattle VA Medical Center.

Now honestly my first thought was how would a Speech Pathologist help in the Caregiving process? Boy I was really surprised and so happy he provided a handout of his presentation.

Strategies to Improve Performance on Tasks Requiring Memory, Attention and Problem Solving Skills

Topics Covered:
  • Problems with cognition and effects on lifestyle
  • The role of the speech pathologist in cognitive rehabilitation
  • Information about views on cognitive rehabilitation
  • Some approaches to addressing various cognitive difficulties
  • Some strategies to use or encourage in different settings
Problems with Cognition
  1. Caused by many reasons
  2. Affect attention, memory, problem solving, communication, behavior, moods
  3. May affect habits, work, interaction, care for self, fully engage in some aspects of life
  4. Functioning Tasks, appointments to-do list, forgetfulness, control of emotions
Speech Pathologist
  1. Patient Care Team
  2. Assess and analysis of cognitive skills
  3. Systematic, functionally-oriented therapy
    1. Structured learning
    2. Focus on Restorative and Compensatory Treatments
    3. Include Caregiver/Family
Things to Consider
  1. Identify specific goals or tasks
    1. Use Caregiver/Family to help set realistic goals
  2. Provide errorless learning opportunities
    1. Clear expectations
  3. Practice strategies
    1. Provide feedback and tools for performance
  4. Select meaningful activities
Speech Pathologist will work in the clinic face to face and in the community living centers as well as via telehealth, e-mail, and telephone.

Speech Pathologist will work to improve attention through different training methods, exercises, and repetition. Goals to improve focus, reduce distractions, staying organized or on schedule, get enough rest to help with the cognitive abilities, learn to break down tasks into several smaller, manageable tasks, as well as NOT multi-tasking.

Things to try
  • Notepad and pen with you at all times
  • Dry erase board for the house
  • Routines and a schedule/calendar
  • Place to always place your things (purse, wallet, keys, phone)
  • Use lists everywhere necessary
  • Electronic devices to assist
There are many other ways to work to help with cognitive abilities. The presentation itself was 27 slides long.

Another concept talked about was to NOT rely on the memory itself but do rely on the tools available to aid with recall of events. The tools are the best aides we can supply our Veterans with so they can gain some self confidence.

Recall Tools
  • Simplify/reduce information
  • Review information in different forms
  • Ask questions, rephrase information, link to something personal to improve the focus/memory
  • Mnemonics
  • Visual imagery
  • Voice recorders
  • Planners
  • Electronic devices
  • E-mail, alarms, voice mail

I think one of the best things I discovered is that Speech Pathology can help with the Cognitive Issues many of our TBI/PTSD Veterans are facing on a regular basis. They can prescribe electronic devices if you have not been able to attain them in other ways. Another great discovery was about telehealth. The Speech Therapy has been able to utilize Skype to help patients living further from the VA. It was rather cool to sit in this 91 year old building and talk about the latest technology to assist our Veterans.