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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2007;44 Suppl 1:45-8.

Dementia and occupational therapy.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chair of Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Ospedale Estense, Viale Vittorio Veneto 9, I-41100 Modena, Italy. <>


In order to evaluate the efficacy of the occupational therapy in patients with dementia, we included in the occupational therapy (OT) program 34 patients with dementia and a moderate to severe cognitive impairment admitted at our RSA. Fourteen of them had vascular dementia (VD), twenty had Alzheimer dementia (AD). For a period of 40 days they followed a daily therapeutic program of OT for washing, personal hygiene (combing their hair, shaving), dressing, sanitary services and eating. Patients were tested with the Ronchi brief evaluation battery (RBEB) before and after therapy. After the treatment we observed a significant improvement in both groups in their mean scores obtained with the RBEB in many of their functional areas. These improvements in patients with vascular dementia were more consistent compared to those patients with AD, but in spite of these differences we saw that, independently from the etiology, it is possible to recuperate residual functional capacities utilizing OT programs in order to guarantee the highest level of autonomy possible for each patient.

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