St. Barnabas Is First In U.S. To Complete New Psychotherapeutic Intervention Program For Elderly

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Six older adults lined up excitedly for their last session in a new program called GATE-ways to Recovery at St. Barnabas. They were eager to continue where they'd left off a few days earlier, creating art and telling their stories through their creations.


"Each session offered a chance to reminisce, make decisions, create artwork and socialize," said St.

Barnabas Quality of Life Director Carrie Ezell. "The program is also designed to decrease anxiety and depression, while increasing skills and cognition."

            

Founded in Australia by Margaret Muir, B.Sc., GATE-ways (Gestalt Art Therapy Experiences) has spread throughout Australia and become popular in Europe as caregivers and families see the benefits. The pilot program at St. Barnabas represents the first time GATE-ways has been implemented in the U.S.

            

"The program focuses on the positive," says Megan McDill, GATE-ways certified practitioner and Ms. Muir's only official contact in the U.S. and Canada. "Participants develop a sense of safety and trust, their mastery and skills increase, self-worth increases, and socialization increases."                     

            

Ms. Muir created GATE-ways after many years of observation and practice in her work with older adults afflicted with dementia and Alzheimer’s. GATE-ways, a psychotherapeutic intervention, is based on the person-centered approach and includes a series of 10 art therapy sessions with specific goals, therapy interventions and art creation which culminate in a book gifted to the resident at the end of the program.

"Central to the program is the belief in the importance of personhood, the sense of self and self-worth, and the recognition that personhood can be eroded by the behavior, attitudes and actions of others," said Ms. Muir. She believes basic human desires for comfort, attachment, inclusion, occupation and identity are imperative to meeting the psychological needs of the person.

Since inception, Ms. Muir says the program has been demonstrated and evaluated rigorously. Her formal study was conducted and evaluated with what she describes as the some of the most marginalized people in developed societies: women with dementia in residential careMs. Muir collected data using the mini mental, dementia care mapping, anxiety scales and depression scales as well as tracking behavioral changes for the duration of the study. Statistical and empirical data indicated that through GATE-ways participants experienced reduced anxiety, lowered levels of depression, improvement in memory, improved physical ability, enhanced sense of self as a valued human being, increased well-being and social interaction skills.

During the five-week program at St. Barnabas, data was also collected for ongoing research, which showed an increase in participant engagement, physical abilities, social interaction, and well-being. At the end of the series, St. Barnabas hosted a celebration at which residents received a book of all the artwork they had produced at each of the 10 sessions, along with their accompanying stories.

"This group was worth getting up for," said participant Stephanie Dillard. "I feel like now I'm calm."

Research increasingly demonstrates that occupation is key to maintaining physical and mental health and well-being. Because cognitive impairment affects the ability to engage in activity, it often results in omission from treatment programs as it is assumed the individual will show no clinical improvement. According to Ms. Muir's research, however, it is possible to see improvement in cognition and function when an individual's cognitive abilities as well as limitations are identified and when the demands of an activity are understood.

"I am thrilled that GATE-ways to Recovery has made it to America!" said Ms. Muir. "GATE-ways provides a wonderful opportunity for improvement in self-awareness, self-esteem, memories, hopes, imagination, delight in life and more. My hope is that many more residents in aged care facilities in America will be able to benefit from it."

St. Barnabas provides skilled rehabilitation and long-term care.


Discussion On "Ebola, Treating Viruses And Vaccines" Slated For CHEO Meeting On April 19

Dr. Charles Adams, MD has long been studying viral illnesses and has an Integrative toolbag of treatments. He plans to share this knowledge at the Complimentary Health Education Organization's April meeting, Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Nutrition World on Vance Road, downstairs in the Speaker's room. According to Dr . Adams, Ebola hijacks the immune system and suppresses it. Once ... (click for more)

Belinda Foy Receives Terri Farmer Award

Belinda Foy has been named the 2015 recipient of the Terri Farmer award by the Craniofacial Foundation of America (CFA).  A certified hand therapist and physical therapist, Ms. Foy and her puppet, Lambchop, have volunteered with children with disabilities at the CFA’s annual Dreams Can Come True Camp since 2011. She said she has witnessed amazing transformations, both physically ... (click for more)

Prominent Business, Civic Leader, And Philanthropist Scotty Probasco Dies At 86

Prominent Chattanooga business, civic leader and philanthropist Scotty Probasco has died at the age of 86. Scotty, as he was affectionately greeted by most of Chattanooga, was known for his modesty, generosity, dependability, and unswerving loyalty. “Great work” was always on the tip of his tongue – a manifestation of his joyous humility. He was a man of high ideals, of kind ... (click for more)

Chemical Odor In Lookout Valley Traced To Chattanooga Tank Wash

Chattanooga firefighters in Lookout Valley were sent out Friday night to investigate reports of a strange odor in the area. The firefighters searched the area, but never found the source of the odor.  John Schultz, an investigator with the Air Pollution Control Bureau, was also out Friday night and eventually tracked the source of the odor to a business, the Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Proud Of Hometown Boy Turned Global Leader, Bob Corker

Time Magazine has it right.  Not only is Chattanooga’s own U.S. Senator Bob Corker one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” but he is probably now the most prominent leader in the history of our city.   At a time of extreme frustration with Washington and Congress in general, Bob continues to rise above the division and rancor to build consensus and solve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Great Work, Ol’ Pro!

Years ago I was lucky enough to be the seatmate of Scotty Probasco on an airplane bound for somewhere and he taught me a word that has helped me be a much better person than I ever thought I could. We were already swell friends, since he’d watched me grow up at First Presbyterian Church every Sunday with his kids, and he liked some of the stuff I tried to write back then. So ... (click for more)