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Practical Strategies for Working with Cognitively Impaired Individuals

presented by Rob Winningham, Ph.D.

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Rob Winningham has a financial relationship with Scientific Advisor for Linked Senior, Speaker/Teacher for Activity Connection, Speaker and content developer for Masterpiece Living, and Partner with Northwest Rehab & Wellness who products and services are mentioned in this course. Rob Winningham receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Rob Winningham has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Many times cognitively impaired patients are unable to learn basic ideas and compensatory strategies, which impedes progress in learning new motor behaviors and reduces the ultimate efficacy of therapy. In this course, we will discuss many strategies and interventions designed to enhance some patients' abilities to encode new declarative memories. We will discuss short-term strategies that can be used without cognitive rehabilitation, and then we will discuss longer-term interventions. We will also work to overcome the possible challenge of creating interventions that yield improvements that generalize beyond the specific task or exercise done in the clinic. This course is the third of a five-part series.

Meet Your Instructor

Rob Winningham, Ph.D.

Dr. Rob Winningham has 25 years of experience researching human memory and has largely focused on older adults and ways to enhance their mental functioning and quality of life. He creates brain stimulation activities for over 10,000 retirement communities and rehabilitation facilities as a part of Dr. Rob's Cranium Crunches on activityconnection.com and helps create…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Executive Functioning is Key

The idea that encoding new memories is based on rehearsal is not complete. In order to maximize cognitive ability, executive functioning in general and attention in particular must be maximized. The importance of these principles is demonstrated, and strategies are introduced that therapists and other professionals can use to maximize attention, in the moment, even without long-term cognitive rehabilitation. Common challenges experienced when people lose inhibitory abilities are also discussed.

2. Retention Testing

Testing clients has a number of positive benefits, including focusing clients on the to-be-remembered information and giving them rehearsal trials. We will discuss how to take advantage of retention testing, in an effort to help people make new declarative memories and learn new compensatory strategies.

3. The Generation Effect

Another empirically supported strategy to enhance executive functioning and attention is the Generation Effect. The Generation Effect refers to an enhanced ability to remember ideas, information, or compensatory strategies that one actively figured out versus having the information passively presented. Visualization and the use of signs are also explained in this chapter.

4. Putting It All Together and Getting Help from Caregivers

Caregivers can either impede therapeutic progress by doing things for their clients that the clients are able to do, or caregivers might impede learning by supporting behaviors in a different sequence than the therapist was trying to do. Clients can get additional rehearsal trials by explaining to their caregivers how they need to perform a certain task. We will discuss how a quick conversation with a caregiver can improve therapeutic outcomes.

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