Friday, November 12, 2010


Deb Steele (right)

Responding to Persons with Challenging Behaviours

GPA Coach, Deborah Steele RN BScN CPMHN(C) GNC(C),

Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant for Lanark, Leeds and Grenville


GPA Training Programme Overall Goal:

Using a person-centred, compassionate and gentle persuasive approach, respond respectfully and with confidence and skill to responsive or challenging behaviour associated with dementia.

Course Objectives:

As a result of participating in this workshop, persons will:
1. Understand that the client with dementia is a unique human being who has an emotional
response to stimuli;
2. From an holistic perspective explain the relationship between the disease process and the
individual’s behavioural response;
3. Describe emotional, environmental, and interpersonal aspects of communicating with
persons with dementia;
4. Choose strategies that serve to diffuse responsive or challenging behaviours rather than
escalating them;
5. Demonstrate the suitable and respectful protection techniques to use in response to
behaviour that staff experience as highly catastrophic.

Course Content:

Module 1
Overview of the principles of person-centred care, meaning behind responsive, self-protective
behaviours of persons with dementia.
Module 2
Introduction to impact of dementia on the brain. The discussion centres on the A’s of dementia
(anosagnosia, amnesia, aphasia, agnosia, apraxia, altered perception, attentional deficits, and
apathy), relationship of each to responsive behaviours in dementia, and care implications.
Module 3
Overview of interpersonal, environmental and communication strategies that assist front-line staff
to respond effectively to escalating behaviours.
Module 4
Overview of body containment principles that when respectfully used in the clinical setting
can assist staff to de-escalate the behaviour of the person with dementia, particularly when
the behavioural profile includes physical acting out. Staff participants learn how to protect
themselves. They also learn respectful escort techniques, both individual and team versions,
that can be used to manage behaviours experienced as more catastrophic by staff. Staff
participants have an opportunity to apply the techniques in role-play situations.

The curriculum development team of the GPA project have designed a literature-based
product that has been evaluated (in partnership with the Murray Alzheimer Research and
Education Program, University of Waterloo, and the Ruth Sherman Centre for Research and
Education, Shalom Village) for its effectiveness, measuring impact on participant self-perceived
competency, knowledge acquisition and clinical application.

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