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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #61
Emerging Research in the Field Behavioral Gerontology
Saturday, May 28, 2005
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Lake Michigan (8th floor)
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer Delaney (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: This symposium explores recent developments in the area of behavioral gerontology. Topics covered include organizational behavior management, clinical interventions, and assessment tools.
Examining the Utilization of Organizational Behavior Management Strategies in a Long Term Care Facilities for the Elderly
JENNIFER A. DELANEY (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Kimberly Moore (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
Abstract: The present paper describes the various organizational contingencies that are present in long-term care facilities for the elderly and presents data on a system-wide intervention designed to improve quality of care. Baseline measures collected at a 150+ bed nursing home suggested that nursing assistants responded at less than optimal levels on the quality of the behavior care plan, the accuracy of descriptions of behavior, its functions, and antecedents, ability to collect accurate data, and guide behavior change. A five hour intensive behavioral training program was developed and implemented across nursing assistants in a multiple baseline fashion. This training, coupled by regular feedback meetings, was able to produce visible and meaningful change for most of the nursing assistants. As a result of this organizational intervention, the quality of clinical care delivered to many residents was improved. Organizational behavior management interventions in long term care facilities for the elderly are few and far between. This paper illustrates the importance of organizational change to produce clinical gains for residents and suggests strategies for enhancing organizational effectiveness in similar institutions.
Behavioral Interventions in Long-Term Care
KIMBERLY MOORE (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Jennifer A. Delaney (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
Abstract: Approximately 80% of long-term care residents engage in problem behavior. Long-term care facilities have traditionally relied on the use of physical and chemical restraints to manage these behaviors. However, current legal restrictions and a growing behavioral literature have begun to question the utility of such interventions. The current paper examines the application and effectiveness of a behavioral assessments and interventions in long-term care. The utility of environmental enhancements on increasing indices of happiness and the use of the functional analysis methodology in designing function based treatments for a variety of behavior problems will be discussed. With regard to happiness indices, we measured the effects of length of exposure to three activities on the levels of happiness of three participants Results demonstrated that participants exhibited increased levels of “happiness” during all three of the activities as opposed to observation intervals when no activity was present. Observations also revealed that varying exposure durations had little to no effect on levels of happiness. In the second study, functional analysis and function based treatments were implemented for 5 participants displaying such behaviors as wandering, aggression, vocal perseverations and inappropriate meal time behaviors. Results demonstrated that function based treatments were effective in decreasing problem behaviors and increasing more appropriate behaviors for all 5 participants.
A Functional Assessment Interview for Hydration in Elders
LEILANI FELICIANO (Western Michigan University), Linda A. LeBlanc (Western Michigan University), Brian J. Feeney (Western Michigan University), Paige Maxwell (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Dehydration is a common and costly complicating factor in the health of many elderly adults. If viewed as a failure to drink enough healthy fluids to sustain hydration, the relevant antecedents and consequences of drinking might be examined to determine what factors functionally impact hydration. We developed a functional assessment interview specific to hydration and conducted this interview with healthy and at-risk elders. The results of the interviews are discussed in terms of the most common antecedents and consequences and co-occurrence of factors.
Using the Natural Language Paradigm to Increase Conversational Language in Older Adults with Dementia and Other Disabilities
KANEEN B. GEIGER (Western Michigan University), Linda A. LeBlanc (Western Michigan University), Rachael A. Sautter (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The Natural Language Paradigm (NLP) has proven effective in increasing spontaneous verbalizations for children with autism, though little research has been done using this strategy with other populations. This study investigated the use of NLP with older adults with developmental disabilities and dementia served as a leisure activity based day program for seniors. Four individuals with extremely limited spontaneous use of functional language participated. The NLP procedure involved use of preferred stimuli, modeled verbalizations related to the preferred stimuli, and differential reinforcement of verbalizations or attempts with access to the preferred stimulus and praise. Experimental control was demonstrated using a multiple baseline design across participants. Data were collected on appropriate and inappropriate verbal behavior with appropriate verbal behavior coded as prompted or spontaneous during baseline and treatment sessions. Additionally, pre and post treatment observations were conducted in the natural environment to evaluate generalization of treatment effects. All participants showed very low rates of responding during baseline and increases in responding during treatment with variable response patterns.



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