The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) rises daily. This is a devastating disease for the patients, significant others, and families to have to experience. “Epidemiological data confirm what retirees have observed: about 30-50% of those living to their mid-80’s will have suffered a marked loss of cognitive ability, a harbinger of advanced AD, or will have suffered advanced AD. Further, the tragedy of AD affecting loved partners takes an enormous toll on their healthier partners” (Reid et al., 2017).
The current treatment regimen for Alzheimer’s disease includes medication therapy. Evidence has shown that there are only small benefits from medication regimens. Memantine has shown a small clinical benefit for patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease (McShane et al., 2019). Donepezil has demonstrated that patients with mild, moderate, and severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease experience small benefits in cognitive function and activities of daily living (Birks & Harvey, 2003). Optimal medication treatment involves multiple medications and increases the risk for polypharmacy and adverse effects. More treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease that can provide patients with greater benefits should be available.
For Alzheimer’s disease patients to maintain their cognitive function and ability to carry out activities of daily living, the brain must be exercised through multimodal non-drug therapies and cognitive rehabilitation therapy (Luttenberger et al., 2012). Cognitive rehabilitation therapy is a form of nonpharmacological interventions that is modified to each individual (Forstmeier et al., 2015). Cognitive rehabilitation therapy is a collection of treatment strategies that are individualized to each patient and is designed to work on improving problems that are identified by the patient. It works to improve activities of daily living, cognition, attention, perception, learning, judgement, mood, and perception. When there is an improvement in activities of daily living, cognition, and mood, there is also an improvement in quality of life. The focus of this project is on the outcome of improving activities of daily living.
This change project involves the implementation of adding cognitive rehabilitation therapy to the treatment regimen for patients with Alzheimer’s disease for 6 weeks. Throughout this time, the outcomes of cognitive rehabilitation therapy in addition to medication therapy are compared to the outcomes of medication therapy alone. The project discusses the effects that these treatment regimens have on activities of daily living in the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Positive outcomes are projected to be seen and include an improvement of activities of daily living after implementing cognitive rehabilitation therapy. Other positive outcomes that are projected to be seen throughout this project include improved memory and a prolonged quality of life.
Caregivers have a vital role in the life of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. With cognitive rehabilitation therapy, caregivers can gain advice, support, and hope with handling the day-to-day challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. Results of the project are valuable to the Alzheimer’s disease community and those caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence-based research was performed and evaluated vigorously to conclude the projected results. A variety of high-level articles with a high quality of evidence were identified and applied throughout this project.
Date of publication
MSN Capstone Project
Masters in Nursing- FNP
Hall, Kelsey, "The Impact of Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy on Alzheimer's Disease" (2022). MSN Capstone Projects. Paper 181.