Wyngate offers new program for Alzheimer’s, dementia patients

Published 10:24 am Thursday, August 13, 2015

ROME TOWNSHIP — Residents of the Wyngate at RiversEdge Senior Living Community with Alzheimer’s and dementia will now have Behavior-Based Ergonomics Therapy (BBET) available to them after the program was recently started.

Wednesday evening, Dr. Giovind Bharwani, co-director of Ergonomics and Alzheimer’s Care at Wright State University and creator of the BBET program, talked to families of affected residents about the background and science behind the program.

“This was a collaborative effort between Wright State University, the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter and the St. Leonard Senior Living Community,” Dr. Bharwani said. “It is the only program in the nation customized for individual residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia based on their life story and cognitive level.”

The no-med BBET program was started in 2010 and uses music, video, stimulating and memory prop therapies specially tailored to the individual’s interests. It reduces stress, agitation and behavior problems in individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“We’ve implemented the program in over 50 facilities around the nation,” Dr. Bharwani said. “Once we decide and start a program at a facility, it takes about four to six weeks to begin and there is a six-month waiting list to implement the program.”

The science behind the BBET focuses on how Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the brain.

The left side of the brain, which controls logic, calculation, problem solving and thought processes, deteriorates with Alzheimer’s and dementia while the right side of the brain, which controls non-verbal concepts, emotions and creativity continues to stay the same. The BBET program improves the quality of life for those affected and is geared toward the right brain.

“BBET builds upon what is working rather than what is not working,” Dr. Bharwani said. “They still have emotions and feelings and are still able to recognize them, but can’t express it in the same way.”

Dr. Bharwani said those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia simply can’t communicate the same way as the rest and the BBET program improves that.

“I’m not working to find a cure for it,” he said. “Just to improve the quality of life for those with it.”

Benefits of BBET for staff include its 24/7 availability, it engages residents without one-on-one attention, comprehensive training to identify signs of stress before behaviors escalate, residents stay calm hours after therapy often eating and sleeping better as well and smoother and more efficient activities of daily living care.

Benefits for residents and families include individualized therapies with comfortable and appropriate cognitive exercises, enhanced family visits and interactions, a variety of non-pharmacological options for managing behaviors and engaging residents and a better overall quality of life.

In an independent study conducted by the Wright State University College of Engineering, which was published in “Long-Term Living” magazine and the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, in six months, there was a 33 percent reduction in falls, a 67 percent improvement in mood and behavior issues, a 38 percent improvement in behavior episodes, a 47 percent reduction in PRN medications and a 65 percent reduction in anti-psychotic medications.

The BBET program has won six national awards including the Dorland Health Silver Crown Award for Alzheimer’s Care and the ADMA Foundation Quality Improvement Award, jointly sponsored by Pfizer, in 2011, the Long-Term Living Leaders of Tomorrow Award, the LTC LINK Spirit of Innovation Award and the OPTIMA Award by Long-Term Living in 2012 and the ACHCA Public Service Award in 2014.

Dr. Bharwani said it will take at least two to three more years for the program to be perfected, but the research is ongoing.