What is functional analysis for older adults with dementia?

services Jul 29, 2021
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What is a functional analysis?

As behaviour analysts, to provide the best care to our clients, an important part of our role is to find out why behaviours are happening. There are a number of techniques we can use to try and find this out, and not only will we select the most appropriate for each client, but we will completely individualise the assessment for that client too. One assessment that we may use is called a functional analysis, which is an evidenced based method that provides us with high quality data that we can then use to create a solid behaviour intervention plan.


What happens in a functional analysis?

In a functional analysis, we will carry out multiple observations of the person who is engaging in behaviours which have an unmet need, in the context where they are happening (e.g., at home). We may even ask those around them to change how they act to help us rule out specific reasons. From our observations, information from family, friends and carers and other assessments, we will usually be able to find out the reason behind the behaviour- what need is that behaviour meeting for that person. 


What do you do with the information from a functional analysis?

Once we know the reason for the behaviour, we can then begin to figure out how we are going to change the way in which the person is supported so that their needs can be met in an alternative way, and in turn reducing the need for the behaviour to occur in the first place. This is all done with the client’s dignity at the forefront, and looking to provide a higher quality of life for them and those around them. 


Some non-behavioural professionals sometimes talk about functional analysis, but only a board certified behaviour analyst has the training and certification to be able to deliver an objective and detailed analysis of behaviour in this way and develop a fully bespoke intervention informed by the results - so don’t settle for less!


Who can benefit from a functional analysis?

Functional analysis can be conducted by our consultants for any type of behaviour that is causing an issue for the client and their loved ones or carers as part of our bespoke assessment and intervention package. This can include behaviours such as: 

  • wandering
  • aggression
  • agitation
  • hoarding
  • resisting personal care
  • entering unsafe areas
  • many more!

We work with any older adults, but specialise in working with those with dementia (e.g., those with Alzheimer's disease, Vascular dementia, mixed type, Lewy body, Frontotemporal dementia etc)

We will always discuss and get the client’s input first to determine the best course of action and always abide by their wishes throughout. 

If you would like to chat to us more about functional analysis or any other aspect of our bespoke assessments and interventions, we will be happy to speak with you. Simply complete the form on our bespoke assessments and intervention page and we will be in contact soon.

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