You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

New Alzheimer’s therapy developed by WSU prof spreading across US


Three years ago, Wright State University professor Govind Bharwani was given a challenge: Find a way to help people living with Alzheimer’s disease so they are less prone to becoming confused, agitated, withdrawn and falling.

Today, the breakthrough therapy he created has won five national awards, spread to 14 institutions in three states and there is a six-month waiting list for those wishing to implement it.

The therapy works by providing each person with their own “memory box” filled with family photos, books and movies they love and other special items. Videos and music from “soothing libraries” are also selected specifically for the patient and games and puzzles are available to stimulate their brains. The therapy is unique because it is customized for each individual and does not involve the use of drugs.

“This has an impact on their quality of life,” Bharwani said of the program, called “behavior-based ergonomics therapy.” “The purpose of it is to not only benefit the residents but the caregivers, as well.”

It started with a request from the St. Leonard Franciscan Living Community in Centerville for a new way to treat residents with dementia. The community was seeing too many falls among residents and frustration among the staff. Within six months using the new therapy, the rate of falls was reduced by one-third and the use of anti-psychotic medications was cut by 65 percent.

“It made a tremendous difference,” said Terri Walker, director of memory support services.

“The biggest challenge is trying to understand each resident who has dementia,” Walker said. “They can’t express their needs.”

With a sheet on each resident that describes what music, videos, games and other therapies they like best, the staff can easily respond to the first signs of stress and redirect them with the prescribed therapy. For instance, it only took a few minutes for nursing assistant Laura Spain to set resident Naomi up with her favorite video of zoo babies, and Naomi could watch the video for 30 to 60 minutes. After such a therapy session, the patient is typically calmed for four hours, Bharwani said.

“They start eating better, they start sleeping better and they start bathing better,” said Bharwani, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering.

The therapy is more effective than a group activity, which can work for some patients and not others, but also does not require much one-on-one time from staff, he said. The St. Leonard’s staff has used the therapies 15,000 times since the program was created in 2010. Although the therapy was pioneered in Dayton, it is spreading around the world. In the United States alone, 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Wright State is now exploring how the therapy could be used for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s at home with the university’s neuroscience department, the Alzheimer’s Association and project coordinator Meena Bharwani, who helps implement the program and trains staff with her father.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Car overturns, snaps pole in half in Champaign County
Car overturns, snaps pole in half in Champaign County

Crews are still at the scene of a single-vehicle rollover crash tonight in on Ohio 4 at Allison Avenue in Champaign County. One person was taken by CareFlight to a Dayton hospital, but the number of other injuries was not yet available, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. A pole was snapped in half tonight in a rollover crash...
‘Crisis’ in trucking industry spurs flurry of bills
‘Crisis’ in trucking industry spurs flurry of bills

State lawmakers launched a four-part plan Wednesday to help trucking companies fill thousands of job openings. A series of bills were introduced addressing various problems that have put the industry in crisis, according to state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, the author of one of the bills. Lawmakers say there aren’t enough people interested...
Honda supplier may be expanding its investment in Springfield
Honda supplier may be expanding its investment in Springfield

A Japanese auto parts firm that planned to invest $10 million in Springfield might be boosting its investment in Ohio. Topre America has previously announced plans to open a plant next year at the Champion City Business Park, a project that would add about 20 jobs at a new 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. But a recently published story in...
Total solar eclipse: ‘Event of a lifetime’ says Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell
Total solar eclipse: ‘Event of a lifetime’ says Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

It will be the event of a lifetime - IF - the weather cooperates here in the Miami Valley late summer.  On August 21, 2017, the first total eclipse in nearly a century will be visible across much of the United States. It will be a total solar eclipse from Oregon to Tennessee to South Carolina.   If skies are clear enough here in Dayton...
COMMENTARY: Trump’s orgy of unnecessary cruelty

The theme that unites Donald Trump’s major initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty. His new budget, for example, comes down especially hard on the poor — imposing unprecedented cuts in low-income housing, job training, food assistance, legal services, help to distressed rural communities, nutrition for new mothers and their infants...
More Stories