Familiarity Key to Helping Caregivers Manage Apraxia. (Maintaining Independence Is Key)

Article excerpt

SAN ANTONIO -- In managing the apractic patient, caregivers should be careful to maintain a sense of familiarity in tools and setting, said Dr. Josepha A. Cheong at the annual meeting of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Apraxia is a frequent consequence of left-hemisphere damage and of degenerative dementia. Conceptual apraxia involves a difficulty in remembering which tool or object to use for a task. Ideational apraxia involves difficulty remembering all the steps, or the order needed to complete a task. Ideomotor apraxia involves difficulty in coordinating movements.

Physicians should instruct caregivers that the goal in managing the apractic patient should be to maintain as much independent functioning as possible. One way to do that is to break down every task into its component parts. Caregivers should not tell an apractic patient to get ready to go out. Instead they should first instruct them to brush their teeth, then to get dressed, then to comb their hair, and so on. …