Posted: Monday, February 6, 2023

The Brain Health Enrichment Program

About 6 million people in the United States have some degree of dementia or cognitive impairment. That total is expected to grow to 13.8 million by the middle of the century. Dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment can be progressive diseases that greatly impact one’s independence. Since symptoms tend to differ with every individual, living with or caring for someone with dementia or a cognitive impairment can be extremely stressful emotionally, physically and financially. As the disease progresses, individuals and their caregivers often require a team of supporters. However, early interventions for cognitive impairment disorders can enrich one’s performance and independence in daily and leisure activities, while also decreasing stress and anxiety for themselves and their loved ones.

With the growing number of dementia and other forms of cognitive disorder diagnoses, individuals and families are becoming proactive in seeking assistance to enrich brain health. To help meet this growing need, Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation has developed a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team approach for individuals who have a concern, who are at risk, or who have been diagnosed with dementia or other forms of cognitive impairments. Headed up by Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation speech-language pathologist Becky Martin, the “Brain Health Enrichment Program” consists of a team of medical professionals that includes speech-language pathologists; occupational and physical therapists; medical social workers; and the individual’s primary care provider. “The ultimate goal is to enrich the lives of those experiencing dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment so they can continue to participate in their daily and leisure activities in a familiar and supportive environment as safely and as independently as possible,” Martin said.

“The Brain Health Enrichment Program provides comprehensive assessments to determine one’s current physical, cognitive and behavioral skills, and identify any need for additional diagnostic services or treatment,” Martin added. With this information and a consultation with the individual and his or her caregiver, customized treatment plans are established to maximize the individual’s performance and independence activities through exercise and management strategies. Team members offer valuable education regarding brain health enrichment, while providing additional information on community resources that can assist with case management and caregiver stress relief. Team members collaborate closely and communicate regularly with the individual’s physician to determine if additional diagnostic services or interventions would be helpful toward providing excellent patient care and caregiver support.

“Because diagnoses of dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment are growing rapidly, we are offering free cognitive screenings each week at Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation at Alcoa, located at 266 Joule St. Screenings take about 30 minutes. If a screening indicates the need for additional assessments or if a patient is determined to be a candidate for our Brain Health Enrichment Program, our team will consult with the patient’s physician to obtain an order, confirm insurance coverage and schedule further assessments,” Martin explained.

Special thanks to Blount Memorial Foundation for securing grant funding from Alzheimer’s Tennessee and Tom Hatcher Charity to provide support for educational resources and training.

For more information or to schedule a cognitive screening, call 865-238-6118.

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