Aberdeen-based occupational therapist Dr Jennifer Caldwell was in Cyprus recently to deliver courses to qualified occupational therapists treating people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related conditions.
According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data, published in April 2011, Alzheimers/dementia deaths in Cyprus reached 146 or 3.39% of total deaths and ranking Cyprus 37th in the world in the number of deaths in relation to population.
The focus of Caldwell’s workshops was the Person-Centred Approach to the care of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related conditions, concentrating on different assessment techniques, communications methods and treatment planning at the different phases of the condition.
“Dr Caldwell has been assisting the occupational therapists and other health care professionals on the island of Cyprus understand the language of the Person-Centred Approach to Alzheimer’s disease together with the Whole Person Assessment process both of which focus on the individual and their carers,” said an announcement.
It added: “When Cypriot graduate occupational therapists complete their university courses and return to the island they move straight into work and have little opportunity to develop further post-graduate skills to benefit their clients and colleagues as there are few continuing professional development opportunities or training facilities on the island specifically for occupational therapists.”
After attending the workshops, head occupational therapist at the Mental Health Services Tasoula Marangou, highlighted how well received and valuable the courses were for her staff.
She also said more workshops were required to ensure work-force were trained to cope with the increasing number of individuals with dementia.
To this end, meetings are planned between Caldwell, Marangou and Mental Health Services Director Dr Yiannis Kalakoutas.
“These meetings will be supported by visits to various mental health units on the island to see the care and support offered by the therapists. These events are planned for February 2014 when Caldwell returns to deliver more educational workshops which she delivers in conjunction with her colleague Marina Georgiadou, a Cypriot occupational therapist with experience of working in mental health and also the Prison Services,” it said. Georgiadou translates Caldwell’s educational material (both written and verbal) into Greek for the participants at the workshops.
According to the organisation Alzheimer’s Disease International, as of 2010, there were an estimated 35.6 million people with dementia worldwide.
“This number will nearly double every 20 years, to an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and 115.4 million in 2050. Much of the increase will be in developing countries.
“Already 58% of people with dementia live in developing countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 71%,” the organisation said.