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Jefferson Elder Care Director Trains International OTs


The Tailored Activity Program, a non-pharmacological approach to dementia care that was developed and tested at Thomas Jefferson University, is now being tested in additional arenas. In this program an occupational therapist assesses the capacities and interests of the individual with dementia and works with his or her caregiver to develop activities that will promote activity engagement and improve the quality of life for both the individual with dementia and the caregiver.

JEC Director Cathy V. Piersol, MS, OTR/L, who was an interventionist in the NIH-funded study conducted at TJU, is still involved as a consultant, most recently in two international projects. In August, a team from the University of Sydney traveled to Philadelphia to receive training in the Tailored Activity Program in order to pilot it in Australia. This past summer, Piersol also traveled to Edinburgh to train 24 occupational therapists who will pilot the program in six areas of Scotland with funding from Alzheimer’s Scotland.

“It’s exciting to meet occupational therapists from other countries and share their excitement about the Tailored Activity Program and commitment to improving the lives of individuals with dementia and their caregivers,” says Piersol. “Teaching caregivers to effectively create and use activities with individuals with dementia can make a big difference in the quality of life for both people.”