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The Functional Transitions Model: Maximizing Ability in the Context of Progressive Disability Associated with Alzheimer's Disease*

  • Susan Slaughter and Jane Bankes

Abstract

The Functional Transitions Model (FTM) integrates the theoretical notions of progressive functional decline associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), excess disability, and transitions occurring intermittently along the trajectory of functional decline. Application of the Functional Transitions Model to clinical practice encompasses the paradox of attempting to minimize excess disability while anticipating the progressive functional decline associated with AD. It is suggested that times of functional transition are times of decision making and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration to identify and minimize excess disability, for revision of goals and expectations, and for provision of support to patients and caregivers. The model also is applicable as a conceptual framework for education and research.

Le modèle de transition fonctionnelle est conçu selon les principes théoriques du déclin fonctionnel progressif survenant dans la maladie d'Alzheimer (MA), de l'incapacité découlant de la maladie et des phases de transition intermittentes tout au long du déclin fonctionnel. L'application du modèle dans la pratique clinique s'inscrit dans la volonté double de réduire au minimum l'incapacité tout en prévoyant le déclin fonctionnel progressif dans la MA. L'hypothèse étudiée ici veut que les périodes de transition fonctionnelle soient des moments opportuns de prise de décision et de collaboration multidisciplinaire en vue de cerner et de limiter l'incapacité, de revoir les objectifs et les attentes thérapeutiques et d'offrir du soutien aux malades, aux dispensateurs de soins et aux aidants naturels. Le modèle peut également être utile en éducation et en recherche en tant que cadre conceptuel.

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Corresponding author

Requests for offprints should be sent to: / Les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Susan Slaughter, R.N., M.Sc(A), Ph.D(c)., Senior Research Associate, Primary Care Research and Development Group, Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, 1635, 1632–14 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1M7. (sslaught@ucalgary.ca)

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*

This work is funded in part by a Ph.D. studentship held by the first author from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. We acknowledge and appreciate the review and comments made on earlier drafts of the paper by Marlene Reimer, R.N., Ph.D., Neil Drummond, Ph.D., and the anonymous reviewers; however, the views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of our reviewers.

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References

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