Phoebe Ministries Receives $25,000 Grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Allentown, PA – Phoebe Ministries was selected as the sole recipient of The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) 2013 Brodsky Innovation Grant. The $25,000 award will be used to create a comprehensive rehabilitation program that engages individuals with dementia in occupational, physical and speech therapies appropriate to their cognitive abilities, interests and needs.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been selected to receive the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Innovation Grant,” says Scott Stevenson, President and CEO of Phoebe Ministries. “This grant will allow us to further investigate the outcomes associated with this new model and share our new approach with other providers. We are grateful to AFA for selecting us and look forward to sharing more about this promising innovation in rehabilitation services as we continue to explore its outcomes.”

The Phoebe Dementia Rehabilitation Program utilizes a standardized cognitive assessment to establish an individual’s preserved skills. Then, an interdisciplinary team of physical, occupational and speech therapists and a psychologist establish a customized program of familiar, enjoyable and functionally-based activities. The team draws on information learned from a “life review” session from family members, Montessori-based engagement methods and person-centered care planning – all best practices in dementia care.

“Too often, individuals with dementia are not effectively engaged in traditional occupational, physical and speech therapies. Our new rehabilitation model has shown promise in addressing underlying physical impairments, while creatively engaging the individuals in a manner that accommodates cognitive losses due to dementia,” said Kelly O’Shea Carney, Ph.D., CMC, Executive Director of the Phoebe Center of Excellence in Dementia Care.

Historically, traditional therapy is not as effective, because people with dementia may have difficulty understanding and processing some of the fundamental activities associated with therapy, including following directions or independently executing tasks or exercises.

In advancing the conceptual model into practice, Phoebe plans to develop activity kits and research and administrative protocols, as well as create video and printed educational materials to spread the method and associated techniques to rehabilitation staff at our four continuing care retirement communities in Eastern Pennsylvania. Ultimately, Phoebe staff members intend to train other long-term care and rehabilitation providers in this innovative model.

“Our hopes are that this new approach to rehabilitation will improve clinical outcomes in people with dementia and improve the capacity of therapists to work effectively with this population,” says Carney.

AFA awards the Brodsky Innovation Grant annually to one of its non-profit member organizations for an innovative service or program that improves the lives of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other related illnesses, and their families. The program must demonstrate innovativeness, greatest need and replication potential.