BINARYTREE, AKTIOS and Paradigma Care from Israel participate in LTC-MAN: Next Generation LTC Facilities Management System, which is funded by EYDE/ETAK, under the programme R&D Cooperation Greece-Israel 2013-2015.
LTC-MAN is a computerized system which has already been installed in AKTIOS and directs the LTC providers and the care teams in providing health care services of better quality and of high efficiency to LTC residents. Based on unique software algorithms, the system provides:
- Advisories and alerts to the care teams
- Actionable, intelligent data analysis
- Integration of the care teams and guidance of the comprehensive care activities
- Documenting the care activities and keeping health records
- Automation of most paperwork, which enables the LTC provider’s staff to focus on performing core activities rather than being occupied with paperwork and redundant tasks that will affect the quality of the health care services
- Compliance with the requirements and regulation of EU countries regarding the Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), which ensures its broad acceptance from the LTC health services professionals
Aktios Art Palace
Aktios proudly announces Art’s Palace incorporation to its Group and its capacity increase to 170 beds.
Art Palace (former Relax Palace in Maroussi) is one of the oldest unit in the country and provides high elderly care quality since 1969. It is located in 55 Pentelis street, Maroussi and has a capacity of 52 beds in single and double rooms.
The experienced health professionals that work there are directly incorporated in Aktios’ personnel, and it is continued the space’s renovation, the services’ update as well as the creation of new ones. The Director of Art Palace Artemis Prouska will preserve her duties and will be promoted as Deputy Director of the Group.
The Nursing Sector of the Group is reorganized in the frame of the Group’s growth and the elderly care quality and Mr. Anestis Karipidis and Mrs Vasso Athanasiou are promoted to Nurse Directors.
Due to its knowledge, scientific methods, love, our partners’ sacrifice and our Dynamic Care Model, Aktios remains probably the most specialised provider of long-time care services in people with dementia and in people that need care after strokes and fractures.
Aktios has highly trained staff and carefully designed rules and control regulations to guarantee the quality of care and the quality of life of our residents.
In this effort we consider you to be our partners. Moreover, we recognize the right of the families to visit their relatives for as long and whenever they wish to do so, taking the necessary precautions to ensure that the other resident’s calmness will not be disturbed.
Therefore, from the very beginning of our operation we keep visiting hours open.
This means that there are no limitations in when or how much you are going to see your beloved ones. Our spaces and our staff are always at your disposal.
Your people can be accommodated in Aktios' facilities during the day so as to participate in daily activities, which include:
- Choir Groups and Mental Empowerment
- Dramatherapy and Music Groups
- Watching movies and videos
- Theatre Group and
- Physiotherapy Group
It is also provided the possibility of lunch or dinner.
Qualified nurses can undertake medicines' delivery, help in feeding, personal hygiene or even the bathtaking.
Also in Aktios it is provided individual care services (such as nursing interventions, bath, haircut, manicure and pedicure).
A common dilemma
A common dilemma:
«Should I make every effort to keep my elderly demented parent at home for as long as possible, or should I search for the best possible nursing home?»
It is understandable that due to the strong family bonds in our country and a sense of obligation towards our parents, the decision to assign their care in specialized care units is not an easy one. Yet for some of the patients and some of the families care at home within the nuclear family is not the optimal option and a solution is urgently needed.
In the dilemma of “paid caregiver at home or specialized elderly care unit” there is not a clear answer. Each incident is judged differently and important parameters that have to be considered are the existence of a supporting network of relatives and friends, the socio-economical status, the pace of daily living as well as the state of health of the elderly. The care of a demented patient is complicated, on a 24 hour basis and needs to be provided by specialized staff. The behavioural disturbances and the changes in the patient’s personality become dominant and without the proper treatment (pharmacological as well as psychosocial) the deterioration of the patient’s and the family caregiver’s psychological and physical condition is more than certain.
By examining the two “care scenarios” of a demented patient we have to note the following:
Regarding the care inside the family environment it is important to keep in mind that elderly live longer increasing the number of years they need total care. Women in the family who were the tradition informal care-givers are more likely to gain formal employment outside home in better and better jobs. Paid formal caregivers are more expensive and not always trained or reliable to do the job.
Regardless of who provides the care at home and despite the best intentions, care at home might not always be adequate. For most of the time the caregiver is physically exhausted since many demented patients do not sleep more than 2-3 hours consecutively. This makes the caregiver at time irritable, impatient and finally burned-out. Attempts to treat insomnia with sleep medication, is rarely effective and, can enhance patient’s already existing confusion (chronic delirium superimposed on dementia). In addition to the principal full-time caregiver a substitute part-time care giver is necessary to allow vacation, sick leave or emergencies for the principal caregiver.
Often the patient and the caregivers spend long hours in social isolations or, staring mindlessly, at the TV thus increasing the sense of caregiver’s irritation and patient’s apathy. Since patients do not always understand what is being done to them simple but essential activities like dressing, grooming, bathing, may end up in a struggle between a confuse patient and a willing but helpless caregiver.
As the disease progresses patients have difficulties to move and to swallow food. Good nutrition becomes a challenge and the risk for fatal food aspiration more and more real. Attempts to maintain mobility by encouraging the patient to move became more difficult and with unskilled supervision run the risk of falls and complicated fractures. Since demented patients can hardly complain concomitant illnesses such as pneumonia, acute abdominal events, can easily be missed by untrained caregivers. Furthermore, considering the large number of pills many elderly take, it is not difficult for the non-medically trained caregivers to make mistakes. Moreover, as the disease progresses patients can not recognized even the closest family members or a long-standing formal caregiver hence the family’s intention to provide one to one personalized becomes less feasible.
Finally, the “free” care at home has many hidden financial costs. Payments to the formal caregiver or the lost income of the informal caregiver cost the residency occupied by the patient and the caregiver in paid rent or lost rent, house maintenance, food, doctors and medications are only some of these hidden costs. Although, reasonable care can be provided at home in requires a costly logistic operation and the active involvement of a knowledgeable family member.
On the other hand the awareness about dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease that has characterized the last 25 years has led to the establishment of nursing home specialized in the treatment of demented patients. These high-end nursing homes for the demented elderly are more and more apt to provide good, efficient care for the demented elderly and have good incentive to do so. First they act in a competitive market and their reputation for good care is their principal asset. Second they are under the watching eye of government regulators and the patient’s families.
Many of the difficulties encountered in providing care at home have been tackled in specialized nursing homes. Since professional caregivers work in shifts physical exhaustions is lees likely. Caregivers are trained to perform grooming, bathing and feeding services in a way that it is perceived by patients and friendly and helpful. Doctors and qualified nurses who are present daily are able to recognize medical emergencies and other medical needs. Personalized physiotherapy programs, which maintain mobility and muscular strength is provided by qualified physiotherapists. Personalized occupational activities provided as in one to one sessions or in groups keep patients active.
In summary, good, personalized care can be provided both at home and in specialized, high quality nursing homes.
For most patients and families the nursing home option is the more sensible but is exceptional cases or when a specialized nursing home is not available care at home is a viable option.
Group of Traditional Dance
Dancing never missed from Aktios’ life. This year we decided to take dancing lessons. Every Tuesday Mr. Costas Passadellis the teacher Traditional Dances’ from the dancing and cultural school “Horopatimata”, coordinates his team and invite our residents to travel all over Greece by learning our country’s traditional dances. The event takes place at the living room of the second floor once a week. Participants can be residents that are in the first or medium level of dementia. During the lesson the group’s members have the opportunity to experiment themselves, be socialised and through dancing reveals sentiments that are difficult to be told. In that group activity the expressive movement and dance are used as a tool in order to cause changes not only in mobility level but also in sentimental and mental one.
Opera team for everyone - Participatory Opera
A new group activity has recently started in Aktios. The famous soprano Katia Pashou, invites us to a special musical experience with the Participatory Opera Group. With her special talent, she introduces us to the opera world and encourages us to sing together well-known opera songs. The Participatory Opera Group takes place every Saturday in the third floor of Aktios. The “Participatory Opera” experiment was first funded by the Theocharakis foundation with the participation of eight-year-old children. Aktios is a pioneer in the implementation of this activity to elderly people and to patients with dementia in Greece. The result is successful, elderly people participate and get excited and the importance of music intervention in the everyday life of demented patients becomes evident.
Ακτ Cafe – Κυλικείο
Free sociable session
You can now make an appointment for free for you or your beloved ones in order to take part in a personal Sociable session, by calling 210 6515268 - 210 6523623 from 09.00 to 21.00 everyday and weekends.
The Sociable Program
The Sociable Program that Aktios uses, is an innovator program of mental reinforcement and cognitive training by using a touch-screen computer. This program reinforces the following cognitive processes:
- Executive functionings
- Mathematic calculations
- Orientation in area and in time
It is applied to people with mild mental disorder or patients with incipient dementia. A well trained assistant of Aktios who takes part in the program is the responsible of the training.
The non-pharmaceutical therapies in dementia
The non-pharmaceutical therapies in dementia
Dementia is a term used to describe the symptoms of a wide group of diseases that cause gradual fall in the mental functions of the patient. The functions that are initially affected are memory and after that is speech and the ability of communication, the judgement, the abstract thinking, the time and space operation. However not only mental abilities descend in people with dementia but personality, emotional and behavioural disturbances are observed. Briefly we could say that symptoms of dementia are separated in three categories:
- mental functions’ fall
- basic life functions fall
- psychiatric symptoms and behavioural disturbances
Alzheimer disease is the most frequent form of dementia and is responsible for the 60% of the cases. It is followed by vascular dementia, front temporal dementia and other rare kinds of dementia but less frequently. All the above have as a common characteristic the fact that the patient in the final stage is totally depending on his carer for whom it is a heavy psychological, practical and financial burden. Although there isn’t radical treatment in dementia nowadays we have at our disposal medicines that control symptoms and assure a better quality of life in patients’ families. The pharmaceutical therapy is a world wide method of treatment of mental deficits as well as psychiatric symptoms that go along with dementia. Moreover over the last years non-pharmaceutical interventions have developed and used so as to empower the mental functions as well as alternative (non-pharmaceutical) ways of facing behavioural disturbances.
Those interventions combined to the pharmaceutical therapy help the patient to remain functional and preserve a satisfying quality and taking place under the supervision and guidance of special trained health professionals in day care centre and in long-time accommodation units. They are adjusted in the patients’ mental level, they have specific targets and they include numerous activities.
The most basic non pharmaceutical interventions for the documented by scientific studies are:
- mental empowerment-memory exercises
- ergotherapy-creative occupation
- speech therapy
- art therapies
The mental empowerment exercises concern the empowerment of memory, attention, verbal capability, executive functions and logical thinking. They are performed either using paper and pencil or through computer. Mental empowerment through computer is practised in Greece over the last years. The SOCIABLE program includes a variety of pleasant and creative games-exercises in an innovative table-computer so that its usage be simple and approachable even to those that are not used to new technologies.
The non pharmaceutical interventions do not replace the existing medical treatment. Their goal is to reinforce the medicines’ action improving the therapeutic result. Those interventions can influence positively the functionality and life quality of the person. Since the disease evolves and life quality of the person. It is important to preserve the person’s autonomy and functionality in the daily activities.
Moreover all the non pharmaceutical interventions that we mentioned above reduce the frequency of emergence of the behavioural and psychological problems that patients with dementia present.
The advantages of non pharmaceutical interventions in dementia:
- they don’t have undesirable side effects unlike medicines
- they are flexible and adjust in every patient’s needs
- the patient is actively participating in his disease confrontation, is being activated and he/she doesn’t wait passively the results of the medical treatment.
Theatre and kinesiology team
One of the most specific and unique interventions that Aktios organizes is the theatre and kinesiology team, which takes place twice a week in a specifically designed operating area of Aktios. By dramatizing songs and fairytales, we can achieve the kinetic, mental and emotional reinforcement of each person as well as the covering of his basic special needs for socialization and companionship.
The actor and director Alexios Kotsoris is the coordinator of this team. With this team we demonstate that we are dedicated to the caring of the people we host. We are also dedicated to the implementation of innovative and revolutionary curative interventions and treatments for Greece.
In Aktios, besides the personal programs that we organize, curative teams of exercise and working out are taking place daily. Free use of our equipment is available in specific days and hours for those registered in exercise and physical therapy programs.
Through the Nintendo Digital Console, visitors with dementia can exercise, ski, play bowling, tennis etc in a specifically organized room of Aktios. They can also practice their balance and work out.
Among our equipment we have:
Portable electrotherapy device with TENS * Portable ultrasound system * Vigorous exercise bike* Firming equipment bike * Parallel bars and staircases* Treadmill * Multi-exerciser * Elliptical * Wii fit/sports
Aktios welcomes you to the magical world of Sociable!
Aktios uses Sociable, an innovatory program of mental empowerment and cognitive training through the use of a touch-screen computer. This program enhances the following cognitive processes:
- Executive functioning
- Mathematic calculations
- Orientation in place and in time
It is used in people with mild cognitive impairment or patients in the first stages of dementia. Participants in this programme are always assisted by Aktios trained personnel.
You can now book a session for you or your beloved one with our physiotherapy team or register in our mental reinforcement, motivation and socialization activities. Call Aktios on 210 6515268, 210 6523623, 216 9001034 from 09.00 a.m. to 21.00 p.m. weekdays and weekends.
Coffee trips and excursions
Aktios’ Psychosocial Sector organizes coffee trips, walks and visits for small groups of residents aiming to bring them in touch with the community, to provide entertainment and to further develop or improve their interpersonal relationships.
Our coffee trips at the Agia Paraskeyi’s Square are truly rejuvenating for the residents that take part in this activity and help them maintain their social skills, providing the perfect opportunity to exchange different opinions and discuss all the external stimuli experienced.
One of our organized trips was also the visit in the museum of Acropolis.
This event took place in the 16th of November 2010 and the residents that participated were highly enthusiasted both for the museum’s exhibits as well as for the bus ride across major highlights of Athens, a process that moved memories from the past.
Dance therapy is an innovative and alternative therapeutic method that ranks among the therapeutic approaches through art along with Dramatherapy, music therapy and art therapy.
It uses the expressive movement and dance as a mean to bring changes not just to the area of motor functioning but also in an emotional and mental level.
During this process the participants have the opportunity to socialize, to experiment through movement and get in touch with feelings that may be difficult to translate into words and finally to let the pressure go and feel more relaxed.
In Aktios there is a weekly dance therapy session that takes place in a special formed space for the last 3 years, under the guidance and supervision of the Dance Therapist Marilena Kareta, in a program that actively proves our deep conviction in the need of a holistic approach and complete health care services.
During the first two years the dance therapy program was taking place in cooperation with the Greek Association of Dance Therapists and the Niarchos Foundation whereas for the year 2010-2011 the dance therapy program continues in the context of the provided services of Aktios.
Dramatherapy offers the chance to the elderly to express thoughts and feelings under a framework of safety provided by its basic tools, the symbol and the metaphor.
Even if the elderly is confined to a wheelchair, still he remains very active mentally and psychologically and he needs to be cared and educated and to feel pleasure.
Imaginary trips using stories, fairytales and guided fantasies can make the elderly feel again the joy and the emotion of standing on his legs, walking, running, swimming, and flying.
In Aktios the program of Dramatherapy was first realized in cooperation with the University of Roehampton and the educator Vivian Gkoutzi and the second time...
The importance of exercise
The natural degeneration of the body caused by ageing affects significantly the mobility of the person to the most necessary movements.
The person’s immobilization causes many problems to the elderly such as stiffness, instability and vascular problems.
This is the main reason that the need for mobilization is imperative and necessary. The aim of the exercise is to maintain the natural range of joints and muscles and to retain the vascular system healthy by avoiding the danger of thrombophlebitis.
In Aktios besides the individual physiotherapy sessions, there are group sessions that take place twice a week.
Through exercise the bond and connection between the residents is reinforced and the tendency to withdraw from the community that is very common in the third age is avoided.
In Aktios the proper nutrition of our residents is one of our basic priorities.
Every month the kitchen’s staff along with the head of the nurses organizes the monthly nutrition program which is strictly checked by the doctor and the Unit Director.
Apart from the nutritional value of the food served, it is important to taste good, to have enough variety and to adjust to every season that we spend.
Our menu includes among others calf pastitsada, sofrito, ntakos, club sandwich, frumenty, soufflés with ham and 4 kinds of cheese, artichokes ala polita, pizza, bird livers, pork with celery, cod with garlic, fish sauce in the oven, giouvarlakia with French fries, chicken with okra and many others.
Certainly, those who have visited Aktios in one of our many events had the opportunity to taste for themselves the delicacies that we and our residents enjoy!!
Colour in the Elderly Care Units
The modern design of places specialized in health services the manufactures take seriously under consideration issues such as the colors of internal spaces.
The common belief, that that has also been proved scientifically, pretends that during the period of ageing our perceptiveness decreases significantly and this is particularly true for people with cognitive impairment.
The brightness, the different shades of colour and even the contrast in colour are concepts very relevant to the elderly that nevertheless can help to resolve many of the usual problems encountered in places where people with dementia use to live.
Research indicates that Elderly Care Units that accommodate people suffering from dementia should use colors in a way that highlights the natural and technical lighting of space in order to make it feel more easily understandable from these individuals. Moreover scientists stress that a space becomes more easily recognizable by its colouring than by its general utility (bathroom, bedroom etc).
Finally, people working in Elderly Care Units can use the colour of a particular space as an instrument to orientate demented people into space (lets go from the blue corridor). However we have to mention that as the nature of the disorder progresses, patients gradually lose their ability to recognize colors.
In our own personal spaces a room filled with colour, a corridor or even a wall can move us feelings of calmness, joy or even psychological tension. Many researchers claim that this is also possible to occur with people suffering from dementia and other related disorders.
Generally, scientists believe that colors that are based in gray and also all the soft colours tend not to be perceived by the elderly. More so, they suggest that bright red, orange and yellow are colours visible from the elderly that encourage participation in activities.
Finally, the warm shades of red and yellow are colours that can help stimulate people with dementia.
Building the Scientific Committee of Aktios
Aktios was founded in 2007. During these years we encountered numerous challenges that were at the same time opportunities for us to change, improve and provide more sufficient and complete services.
Thus, the quality of the provided care has improved both from on a medical and nursing care level as well as on the level of psychosocial support.
We refurbished our facilities and equipment and we are continuously training and educating our staff, providing new services that are innovative for the usual Greek standards and match the highest European ones.
This continuous course of progress was recognised and confirmed on April of 2010 when Aktios became member of the European Association MD Nursing, a chain specialised in establishing and organising health centres for elderly people suffering from dementia. Members in the newly formed Aktios Advisory Board are, among others, Professor Michael Davidson, Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Psychiatry, Tel Aviv University, Professor Shlomo Noy, Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, Tel Aviv University, the Neurologist-Psychiatrist Dr Paraskevi Sakka, the Psychologist- Gerontologist Marina Polikarpou and the Psychologist- Gerontologist Dr. Costis Prouskas.
Behavioural Disturbances in Dementia
Although in general dementia as a disease of the Central Nervous System is best know by the cognitive deficit it produces as a result of the degeneration of brain tissue, it comes as no surprise that the person’s overall behaviour is also affected in multiple levels and gradually worsens, becoming not only dysfunctional for the demented patient but also very difficult for his environment to handle and manage to cope with it.
The behavioural symptoms of dementia, measurable through observation, may be summarised in the following:
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Depression- elation/mania
- Anxiety and irritability
- Impulsivity, apathy and resistance to care
- Aggressive behavior, either on a physical level with violent actions or on an oral level, screaming and using inappropriate words
- In the verbal communication with negativism, constant request for attention and repetitive sentences
- Aberrant motor behavior, such as pacing (walking back and forth), wandering around the facility in a repeated pattern, attempting to flee the facility and searching pretentiously for objects in unusual places.
- Inappropriate sexual behaviour such as unwanted verbal/physical sexual advances, disrobing, exhibitionism and masturbation in public.
The symptoms described above become more severe as the course of the disease progresses, but tend to ameliorate in the very terminal period, when the oral communication is limited almost completely and there is exhaustion and cessation of the muscle movement.
Pleasant activities for people with dementia
It is hard to imagine a world where the children don’t play and don’t have fun.
Playing and doing pleasant activities are meanings usually tied to the initial stages of our life, the childhood, but the same need is seen in the elderly and where it takes a whole new special therapeutic meaning.
This happens because in reality the needs of a small child and those of an elderly person with dementia are almost identical in many areas.
They both have the same need for care, love and attention from the people close to them, they both have the need to understand and find meaning in all those things that seem to be so strange in their world.
Through games and pleasant activities they get the opportunity to learn this world, to experiment with things that move their curiosity and to be moved emotionally during this process.
Although a person who suffers from dementia sometimes gives us the impression that he has lost many of his former abilities from the time that he was still healthy, however it is very impressive how easy and successfully this same person is able to respond to a pleasant activity. Through art such as painting he is able to externalize his anxiety and his feelings in a way that is safe, secure and creative.
Through singing he is able to get in touch with feelings and memories that, due to the nature of the disease, are either in a frozen form in a place inside him that he can’t access anymore, or they constitute a patchwork of stressful experiences and painful feelings that is to painful to get in touch directly.
Actually, on a group level, every simple activity may be transformed into a gaming experience, from finding names and word derivatives, to proverbs and metaphors, to imaginary trips in geographical destinations, to socializing and getting familiar with other group members, in reality there are no limits than those set by our imagination as long as we fill one single necessary requirement: to allow ourselves to feel as if we were teachers and besides us are “children” eager and ready to respond to our invitation, as long as we surround them with love and safety.
The Elderly Care Unit Aktios constitutes a model of a unit that gives particular emphasis to the psychosocial support of the demented patients by providing a stable daily schedule of pleasant activities.
Besides, since we would never send our children in a camping where they would not have the opportunity to play and have fun, let’s not deny from our father, our mother or our grandfather/mother the chance to entertain themselves when we take the decision to trust their care in a secure environment.