Depression, Delirium, Dementia: The 3 D's in a Complex Patient

presented by Teepa Snow

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As people age, their brains become more vulnerable to chemical changes, damage, and disease. Recognizing the differences among changes that signal an acute illness or medical emergency, symptoms of a mood or emotional condition, or a chronic, progressive, and terminal condition that will eventually rob a person of their cognitive abilities is vital in providing the best possible care and responding effectively when changes are noted. This course will provide some basic signs to differentiate between the three Ds: Delirium, Depression, and Dementia.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

    Teepa Snow is an advocate for those living with dementia and has made it her personal mission to help families and professionals better understand how it feels to be living with such challenges and seeks to change and improve life for everyone involved. Her practice has included everything from neuro-intensive care units in tertiary hospitals to in-home end-of-life care in rural parts of North Carolina. She has taught at medical schools and post-doctoral programs, health professional programs, colleges and universities, community colleges, and community centers. She led educational and training efforts as the Educational Director of the Eastern NC Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association for many years and was a major contributor and author of the in-depth hands on training delivered to family members and staff that led to the production of the DVD Accepting the Challenge: Providing the Best Care for People with Dementia, an internationally recognized resource for training and understanding dementia. As one of America's leading educators on dementia, Teepa has developed a dementia care philosophy reflective of her education, work experience, medical research, and first hand caregiving experiences. She is a graduate of Duke University, and received her MS degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. As an Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of experience in geriatrics, she has worked as the OT Director in a head injury facility, a clinical specialist in geriatrics for a Veteran's Administration Medical Center, and a Restorative Care Coordinator for a long term care facility. Her hands on caregiving experiences include providing direct care in home health, assisted living, long term care, and rehabilitation settings. Teepa also served as the Director of Education and Lead Trainer for the Eastern N.C. Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, and as a clinical associate professor at UNC's School of Medicine, Program on Aging. She has served as an interdisciplinary team member and helped develop and conduct clinical research with leading researchers in dementia and geriatric care. Through opportunities she has had, she has learned from people living with various forms of dementia including: head injuries, stroke, autism, down syndrome, and many other neurological and chronic health conditions. Teepa has become committed to building a program of support and care that provides a just right match between what the person needs and is able to do, and the environment and care partnering that can provide it. This wealth of experience and knowledge led to her development of a Positive Approach to Care for those living with dementia or other brain changes. Teepa's teaching style integrates facts about the brain and what happens to someone when doing, thinking, reasoning or processing becomes different or difficult.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. A Complex Individual

    1. A Complex Individual

    In this session, we will look at a real-life scenario to determine which of the three major symptoms are being exhibited in one person. Note taking is encouraged as this chapter will be referenced throughout the rest of the course.

  2. An Introduction to the 3 D's

    2. An Introduction to the 3 D's

    In this session, we will review the meaning of each of the terms delirium, depression, and dementia. Additionally, we will highlight common relationships among the three conditions.

  3. Understanding the 3 D's - Which Is Which? How Do You Know?

    3. Understanding the 3 D's - Which Is Which? How Do You Know?

    Each of the three Ds has a different pattern on a number of variables. It is essential that the clinician determine which conditions are present, share this information with a medical advisor, and assess and intervene with the person to contribute to their immediate as well as longer term quality of life and well-being. In this session we will review characteristics for each, preparing to determine more accurately which is which in the second part of this course.