After reading my last article, which honestly was my attempt to explain a clinical process in layman’s terms, you are probably very interested in how that information will help you in how to care for and address concerns for your loved one suffering from dementia.
The training that is involved with Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy (BBET) is extensive and involves several layers of assessing situations to eliminate causes of behaviors before an approach is selected. So please understand that my summary is just that. A simple explanation to help you understand how this can help a loved one during a period of stress/behavioral upset.
The premise that BBET is based on is that every behavior stems from a contributing factor. That factor might come from:
- Pain, illness or some other unmet physical condition
- Loneliness, boredom or other emotional discomfort
- Environmental causes such as too much stimulation, being overwhelmed with a task, caregiver approaches, disrupted routine
- Psychiatric cause such as depression, anxiety, psychosis or other mental illness.
Because folks with dementia many times cannot pinpoint why they feel bad or tell us why they are upset, it is up to the caregiver to assess the cause and determine a solution and a BBET therapy to calm the resident. This part of the program is key to its success.
Types of Behavior Based Ergonomics Therapy
There are 4 types of therapy that could be used. Music, Video, Stimulating (feel sensory) or Memory Prop Therapy. These are used to manage behaviors and promote engagement with individualized therapeutic activities to get ahead of resident stress caused by boredom and disengagement. In a community that utilizes this therapy there is a resource center with more than 150 tools to use to engage a resident within just a few minutes.
The advantages of the therapy extend beyond the time spent on the activities themselves. Residents are relaxed and content after therapy and they are not only able to but are more interested in interacting during group activities and family visits. They can concentrate and eat better during meals, and they accept care and direction from caregivers more readily.
These therapies are all individualized and provide comfort and appropriate cognitive exercise for each participant. A huge benefit is as caregivers see a behavior beginning, or at a time that behaviors are frequently seen, they can start a therapy before the behavior starts/escalates. These therapies can also be used to enhance family visits and interactions.
Additional Benefits of BBET
Added benefits also include:
- Reductions in falls. This is due to the fact that studies show that falls are triggered primarily by behavioral issues such as aggression, pacing, etc.
- Fewer behavioral episodes
- Improvement in mood and engagement
- Participants sleep better
- Reduction in PRN medications
- Reduction in use of anti-psychotic medications
It is obvious from the summary that this has incredible benefits not only to those suffering from dementia, but has benefits for the caregivers as well. In my next article I’ll discuss each therapy in greater detail and explain the assessment process for determining causes of behaviors. If you’re interested in more information before then, don’t hesitate to reach out!