Care Visions Dementia Services

Dementia is emerging as the major health and social care issue of the 21st Century. Currently, there are no pharmaceutical treatments available that modify the disease course of any of the major causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. At best, the suite of currently approved medications may provide symptomatic relief, for a short period of time, in some individuals. It is also widely recognised that anti-psychotic, anxiolytic and anti-depression medication are overused and often inappropriately prescribed for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. On the background of a greater understanding of the pathological changes in the brain that lead to specific neurological and psychiatric impairments in dementia, there needs to be greater focus on the targeted use of evidence-based non-pharmacological therapies that may ameliorate symptoms and provide for a higher quality of life. The Care Visions Alzheimer’s Pathway takes a data-driven approach and makes the use of the latest in neuroscience and care research to provide systemised support for the person with dementia – seeking to stimulate areas of ability and ameliorate symptoms of dysfunction and disability.

About Care Visions

Care Visions Beijing has a strategic focus on the development and implementation of an innovative care model for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – the Care Visions Alzheimer’s Pathway. Care Visions Beijing has driven a systematic approach that methodically combines an assessment of the relative staging of cognitive, behavioural and functional impairments in combination with a non-pharmacological therapy program that is both scientifically sound and data-driven. The purpose of the Care Visions Alzheimer’s Pathway is to equip all levels of care workers, communities, and societies with the optimal non-drug care options for the management of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and to provide the best opportunity for improved quality of life.

Staging of dementia and brain pathology in Alzheimer’s disease

Contemporary neuroscience research has indicated how specific areas of the brain are progressively affected across the stages of dementing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. In this regard, it is now possible to relate cognitive, behavioural and functional impairments to damage to particular areas of the brain as well as specific sets of connections within the central nervous system. In this regard, we know that Alzheimer’s disease begins in brain structures in the temporal lobe that are responsible for, for example, the acquisition of new memories, and then the disease spreads through interconnected networks to include a substantial proportion of the cerebral cortex. In this way, these progressive and degenerative changes that spread throughout the brain underlie the emergence of particular symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease over time. While the broad course of the disease is relatively predictable, Alzheimer’s disease will also variably affect other key brain pathways, such as those responsible for olfaction (sense of smell) and visual processing. Eventually, Alzheimer’s disease will lead to degeneration of neurons responsible for our core bodily functions, and this is related to reduced mobility and other physical symptoms that hasten death. In this regard, an understanding of how this disease affects the brain at different stages can be highly informative for the selection of therapeutic approaches that seek to ameliorate or work around areas of deficit, and support and maintain areas of remaining ability.

Introducing the Care Visions Alzheimer’s disease Therapy Pathway

The Care Visions Alzheimer’s Pathway approach takes into account brain pathology and the relative staging (early, middle and late) of disease progression in concert with related schema for Alzheimer’s disease (7 stages) to inform the selection of specific sets of non-pharmacological therapies.

From this, we can target the functional, cognitive, behavioural and sensory deficits that are occurring during the disease to apply and continually evaluate the most effective non-drug therapies for the best possible outcomes during the disease progression. Selection of therapies is based on the latest evidence of efficacy in individual and group therapy context. Care staff are trained not only in the application of these therapies, but also in the evaluation of their effectiveness, which forms the basis of a data-driven approach to care mapping and planning.

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