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Spaced Retrieval for Memory Loss Part 2: Implementation Strategies

presented by Jeanette E. Benigas, PhD, SLP

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Jeanette Benigas receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. She also receives royalty payments from Health Professions Press for the publication of the book Spaced Retrieval Step by Step: An Evidence-Based Memory Intervention.

Nonfinancial: Jeanette Benigas has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Video Runtime: 33 Minutes, Learning Assessments: 24 Minutes

Speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists often lack evidence-based interventions that assist people with memory impairment to compensate for their loss. More specifically, helping people with dementia can be challenging and can sometimes leave a clinician feeling like nothing can be done at all. Thankfully, spaced retrieval and its theoretical underpinnings have been researched and proven superior for improving memory for new or previously known information for more than 200 years. The keys are to understand why and how the modality works, set up the treatment correctly, and remain consistent with delivery. At times, the modality can be too difficult or too easy for patients, but the flexibility of spaced retrieval also offers proven changes to improve outcomes. In part 2 of this series, clinicians will gain an understanding of the recommended protocol for spaced retrieval, hear suggestions for modification if the intervention is too easy or too difficult for the patient, learn how to plan and document during therapy, and finally, learn when to discontinue the use of spaced retrieval.

Part 2 includes demonstrations and form examples to assist with learning and implementation.

Meet Your Instructor

Jeanette E. Benigas, PhD, SLP

Jeanette E. Benigas is the owner of Safe Swallowing Diagnostics, a mobile FEES company serving eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Her extensive clinical experience has included work with adults in acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, post-acute rehabilitation, long-term care, home health, and outpatient settings. Benigas's research interests include improving the quality of life for persons with…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Implementing Spaced Retrieval Procedures

This chapter teaches the spaced retrieval protocol in four easy steps for the first practice sessions and all subsequent therapy sessions. Adhering to this protocol helps the clinician to utilize the theoretical underpinnings in part 1 of this series without having to think about it. Later, modifications can be made if they are warranted, but starting with this protocol is the first step. Demonstrations are provided to assist with learning and implementation.

2. How and When to Modify the Spaced Retrieval Procedure

"I tried spaced retrieval and it just doesn't work" is a sentiment Dr. Benigas has heard on more than one occasion. Luckily, if the recommended protocol has been followed and the patient still isn't meeting the goal, spaced retrieval is flexible and allows for modifications that can systematically be tested with the patient to see if improvements can be made. It is important to try some of these changes before discounting the modality's effectiveness.

3. Planning, Documentation, and Discontinuation of Spaced Retrieval

Documenting progress during therapy is important for reimbursement and measurement of outcomes. Changes during spaced retrieval are sometimes easy to miss because the sessions are redundant and can all seem the same to a clinician with intact memory function. Being able to track small incremental changes over time is helpful when advocating for additional treatment and knowing when to modify the modality or discontinue use of spaced retrieval. This chapter will also help the clinician to recognize when to stop spaced retrieval for patients experiencing failure and success and learn how to support outcomes.

4. Including the Care Team to Support Success

Acquiring skills on how to include the care team for support outside of therapy sessions and to help with maintenance is important for outcomes. This chapter teaches how to include care teams and families, offers ideas to increase success, and gives suggestions for cotreatment with examples.

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