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HGNI: Geriatric Mental Health Series - "When You Forget That You Forgot" Recognizing and Managing Alzheimer's Type Dementia Part I


HGNI: Geriatric Mental Health Series - "When You Forget That You Forgot" Recognizing and Managing Alzheimer's Type Dementia Part I

University of Iowa College of Nursing
Hartford Geriatric Nursing Initiative (HGNI)
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Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are commonly encountered in the long-term care setting. However, staff frequently misinterpret or misjudge behaviors and abilities due to lack of knowledge about the extent and nature of lost abilities. This program provides an overview of various types of dementia, but focuses on Alzheimer's' Disease (A.D.). The stages of A.D. are reviewed, including common behavioral problems associated with each. The Progressively Lowered Stress Threshold (PLST) model of care is introduced as a model to help caregivers reduce stress and promote more functional behavior in dementia.

This is the fourth module in the Geriatric Mental Health Training Series (GMHTS), a six-part training program designed to be taught as a one-hour educational program for care providers in long-term care settings. The six core topics address common problems faced in LTC settings. Each is designed to help staff be more knowledgeable about the causes of "problem behaviors" and about techniques to manage those troubling behaviors. The care providers' own feelings and behaviors in response to problem behaviors is examined, including the role of values and beliefs, personal needs, and stress in the work place.  All modules can be found at:

Educational objectives: 


1.    Define dementia and list 3 common types.

2.    List 3 possible causes of "reversible" dementia.

3.    Describe the type of problems that are typical in each of the 4 stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

4.    Describe (in simple terms) the Progressively Lowered Stress Threshold model of care.

5.    Discuss the relationship between stress and problem behaviors.

6.    List 3 very common causes of stress for demented residents.

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

The training materials were designed to be flexible, and strongly encouraged individual trainers to adapt the modules to meet their unique needs and audiences. Throughout the training materials, trainers are urged to personalize the materials by using real-life examples from their facility, try out suggested interventions with residents prior to training staff, and use as many meaningful examples as possible to help staff apply the program concepts in their day-to-day practice.

The Geriatric Mental Health Training Series (GMHTS) was developed and evaluated between 1989 and 1994 with funds from the Division of Nursing, Bureau of Health Professions, Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Kathleen C. Buckwalter, PhD, RN, FAAN, Principal Investigator and current Co-Director of the Iowa HCGNE and Marianne Smith, MS, ARNP, pre-doctoral scholar of the Iowa HCGNE. This highly acclaimed training program is provided in a revised and updated format under the leadership of the HCGNE. Training materials are adapted for broad dissemination and use, and provided at no cost to users.

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1 hour 30 minutes
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Suggested Citation:
HGNI: Geriatric Mental Health Series - "When You Forget That You Forgot" Recognizing and Managing Alzheimer's Type Dementia Part I. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2011 Available from: