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Restorative Care With Cognitively Impaired Older Adults: Moving Beyond Behavior

Galik, Elizabeth M. CRNP; Resnick, Barbara PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April-June 2007 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 114–125
doi: 10.1097/01.TGR.0000270180.06027.34

More than half of individuals diagnosed with dementia experience significant functional limitations. A restorative philosophy of care focuses on the restoration and/or maintenance of physical function and helps older adults to compensate for functional impairments so that the highest level of function is obtained and complications of physical dependence are minimized. When working with cognitively impaired individuals who commonly exhibit behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, it is essential to move beyond the tendency to focus only on behavioral interventions, and also implement a restorative philosophy of care that maximizes physical function and quality of life. This article describes a 4-step approach that can be used to implement a restorative philosophy of care for older adults with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.

University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Md.

Corresponding author: Elizabeth M. Galik, CRNP, University of Maryland School of Nursing, 655 West Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21201 (e-mail:

This study was supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grant no. R01 HS/MH 13372-01. In addition, we thank and acknowledge the nursing assistants at Copper Ridge in Sykesville, Md, who were willing to participate in this study and help us learn how to best implement a restorative philosophy of care with these residents.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.