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Discover our dependency prevention campaign.

14 / 02 / 2019

ATAM’s Clinical Team carries out a dependency prevention campaign through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary assessment aimed at detecting risks associated with the development of any nature of disability in the elderly.

This campaign aims to detect early treatable, undiagnosed, or previously untreated problems in people over 60 who do not have special needs. It aims to enable the same person to redirect their evolution by acquiring healthier lifestyle habits. In short, the goal is to guide towards actions that can be carried out by the person, as the director of their health, and, in this way, promote their autonomy.

The campaign has been running for almost six years now and is constantly tested to provide more and more value for our users. At present, the approach of this service is being enriched with the incorporation of new approaches such as the assessment of frailty.

Parents of ATAM members can already benefit from this campaign to prevent situations of dependency.

The participation of the physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty is added to the initiative.

Who is frail?

The frail elderly person experiences a decrease in physiological reserves and a high vulnerability to diseases and aggressive processes (hospitalizations, surgeries, immobility), presenting, therefore, a higher risk of adverse health effects, loss of function, and dependence. This vulnerability translates into reduced adaptive capacity. Frailty is a good predictor of adverse health effects in the short, medium, and long term.

The importance of its detection is justified by its high prevalence (estimated to affect 10% of older people) and by the fact that it is potentially reversible, preventing progression to disability.

Inactivity is a core element in frailty because of its direct effect on the cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal impairment, and metabolic system, as well as contributing to cognitive impairment and mood disturbances.

A new approach: Frailty screening

In the Dependency Prevention Campaign different strategies are used to detect frailty, such as performance tests (to assess mobility and gait) and specific questionnaires. The implementation of a new assessment protocol allows the detection of possible physical risks, mobility risks, or situations where pain is present, which can be addressed more comprehensively and efficiently from a rehabilitation perspective.

According to the studies carried out by the ATAM Clinical Team, it has been observed that most cases that have been treated, some risk factor is evident. The most frequent are cardiovascular risks, followed by the risk of suffering cognitive impairment; without forgetting the factors that have to do with motor and functional functioning, especially those that are a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle. For this reason, since last year, the specialty of neuropsychology has been incorporated into the campaign, and recently the new figure of the rehabilitation doctor.

Within this physical and functional area, the rehabilitation doctor assesses in detail various aspects of each person’s life to provide a series of summary guidelines to improve the user’s quality of life in terms of personal autonomy, overall functionality, and state of well-being in the absence of pain, while promoting healthy habits and the prevention of future problems.

What are the objectives of this service from the area of rehabilitation?

The objectives of the campaign are, among others:

  • To raise awareness about physical health and self-care.
  • To establish a reference point for monitoring the physical evolution of the participants.
  • To offer solutions to improve physical functionality in daily life and help control or mitigate pain.

From the rehabilitation area, the consultations mainly orient toward three fundamental areas: mobility, activities of daily living, and pain.

In some cases, this is in person, and in others through a videoconference interview from which we obtain a functional assessment of mobility, self-care, activities of daily living, and domestic life, as well as an evaluation of the participant’s possible pain situations.

How is this new phase of the campaign developed?

In the reception process through ATAM’s family counsellors, initial information and data are collected, and screening is carried out to determine whether the applicant should be assessed from one, two, or the three areas included in the programme (family doctor, neuropsychology, and rehabilitation).

The rehabilitation protocol is based on several standardized questionnaires that are easy to apply, which the Clinical Team has adapted to make them very simple to complete regardless of the medium used for the assessment, whether in person or by videoconference.

If a risk situation is detected, possible solutions are proposed, which usually consist of modifying certain daily habits. In many cases, to help avoid errors preventive actions such as targeted physical exercise, postural correction, or strategies are proposed. Advice is also given to people with difficulty walking, especially outside the home. In other cases, our advice is directed towards a more specific medical assessment, for example, in the case of occasional urine leakage in some people. That should be complemented with appropriate management of pain in case it is present, as it is one of the main limiting factors when it comes to moving and functioning in daily life.

This prevention campaign also brings another value: it provides us with reference data for each participant. Many of these data, which now, may not seem relevant, can be compared with the results of their future assessments, and in this way, we will be able to analyze their physical and functional evolution, so that we can act when important changes appear.

How can I access this service?

The campaign aims at members, spouses of members, and parents of members over their 60, and who have not yet developed a disability or who do not need help to carry out the most basic activities of daily living.

To participate, you need to call or go to your local ATAM Member Services office and get in touch with your Family Advisor. If you don’t know who you should contact, you can call 91 799 13 07 or 91 799 13 09 and they will refer you to the appropriate person.

The prevention campaign is a key service of the ATAM Clinical Team.

The Association is constantly evolving to continue providing more and more value through a holistic vision focused on the complexity of each case.

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