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Research Shows Increased Independence for Residents with Dementia Using iPad-Based Cognitive-Communication Therapy

The Learning Corp | Dec 5, 2016 | Dementia

Research results show that after using Constant Therapy for 6 weeks, a resident diagnosed with dementia in the Special Care Unit of a large retirement community showed functional improvement and more independence.

Computer-Mediated Cognitive-Communicative Intervention for Residents with Dementia in a Special Care Unit: An Exploratory Investigation

According to statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17% of residential care communities in the United States house speciacare units (SCU’s) for residents with dementia. Residents of  Special Care Units in skilled nursing facilities, constitute a population of rapidly escalating needs. These entail rising demands for speech-language pathology services to treat and manage symptoms of  dementia.

This study recounts an exploratory investigation of rehabilitation sessions with an elderly resident of a Special Care Unit, using a new computer-based program targeting cognitive-communicative capacities. Preliminary results suggest that this resident with moderate dementia achieved a higher degree of functional recovery and superior qualitof life than would have been possible with more traditional therapeutic approaches alone.

Research Highlights

  • Constant Therapy tasks were incorporated into a 6 week course of skilled SLP treatment with a resident with moderate dementia residing in a Special Care Unit (SCU).
  • The resident demonstrated improvements in task performance and required less clinician cues over the course of treatment (see Table 2).
  • There was functional improvement in the resident’s independence during ADLs, safety, adaptation to surroundings and reduction of negative behaviors. The resident was successfully transferred from the SCU to a long-term care wing that provided more freedom.
  • Findings suggest that using the customized Constant Therapy program as part of speech language therapy “achieved a higher degree of functional recovery and superior quality of life than would have been possible with more traditional therapeutic approaches.”


Read the full research report: Computer-Mediated Cognitive-Communicative Intervention for Residents with Dementia in a Special Care Unit:An Exploratory Investigation.


  • Whitney A. Postman, November 2016, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. As published in Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups SIG 15, Vol. 1(Part 2), 2016.
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