Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Paper Session #139
Training Behavior Analysts to Work with the Elderly
Sunday, May 25, 2008
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: DEV
Chair: Jennifer D. Kowalkowski (Eastern Michigan University)
If Behavior Analysis is So Great, Why is it Not Generating More Change in the Field of Gerontology?
Domain: Applied Research
JENNIFER D. KOWALKOWSKI (Eastern Michigan University), James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University)
Abstract: Traditionally, gerontology research has been widely viewed as a “multi-disciplinary team,” working within a medical model. Regretfully behavior analysts have yet to fully join this team. Despite leading assessment, intervention, and staff training efforts in some populations (i.e. autism, developmental disabilities), behavior analysts have yet to utilize these expertise with aging adults. There have been limited analogue studies of contingencies affecting people as they age within the behavioral literature. With the number of aging individuals in America far exceeding those in autism and developmental disabilities combined, behavior analysts need to assess our own avoidance behavior of working in this area and develop some solutions. This paper seeks to address the lack of emphasis placed on the behavioral model of aging in the literature, identifies plausible functions for avoiding behavior analytic work with aging populations, and encourages behavior analysts to generate wide spread change for these individuals by devising direction for future research and treatment solutions.
CVASA: A Unique Tool for Evaluating Staff Ability to Apply Knowledge of RFE in Residential Settings.
Domain: Applied Research
LEILANI FELICIANO (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs), Patricia A. Arean (University of California, San Francisco)
Abstract: A high rate of psychiatric symptoms and behavior problems frequently co-occur with dementia. Agitated or problem behavior associated with dementia often leads to loss of placement, decreases the quality of care that the person receives, increases the likelihood of use of intrusive control measures, and leads to decline in overall quality of life for the affected individual. The Senior Behavior Health Services Program (SBHS) was a project aimed at disseminating Restraint-Free Environment practices for the management of depression and agitation in long-term care settings. Staff received five training sessions covering defining and identifying problem behaviors, assessing the context in which behavior occurs, environmental approaches to managing behavior, creating Restraint Free Environments, and tracking and measuring clinical outcomes. SBHS provided training, modeled interventions, transferred control to staff, and served as consultants. To evaluate the impact of the program on whether staff could apply their knowledge and skills learned from this program, an interactive case vignette assessment survey of ability (CVASA) was created. The measure was available in English and Spanish and administered to 87 residential caregivers involved in patient care. This presentation discusses creation of the CVASA and reports on outcomes associated with this measure.



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