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Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes dementia, the degeneration of intellectual functions such as memory. Alzheimer’s and related conditions can have a particularly devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. And though it receives much less attention than other serious diseases and conditions, Alzheimer’s alone affects 4.5 million Americans today.

Diagnosis

We use several technologies to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, including:

  • Computerized Tomography (CT). Computerized tomography (CT) scans take detailed cross-sectional images of the body that are used to identify specific neurological conditions.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). During magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the body is exposed to electromagnetic radiation that can detect, process and convert images of the body’s soft tissue, such as the brain or spinal cord, into computer images.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Positron emission tomography (P.E.T.) scanning allows doctors to see how an organ functions, rather than simply its structure. This breakthrough technology is particularly useful in diagnosing some neurological disorders.

Clinical Drug Trials

The Neurosciences Institute offers patients the opportunity to help doctors find answers to neurological illness by participating in clinical drug and surgery research trials.

Rehabilitation Services

Home Health

The Home Health program at Saint Francis Medical Center features caring, highly skilled therapists, nurses and aides who provide various healthcare services to people confined to their homes. Individualized plans of care are developed for qualified patients based on input from physicians, Home Health staff and at-home caregivers.

Neuropsychology Services

As the only provider in the region with both a neuropsychologist and a behavioral psychologist on staff, Saint Francis Medical Center provides expert care for patients suffering from emotional/cognitive problems due to bodily injury. Inpatient rehabilitation staff helps patients develop coping skills, establish appropriate expectations and modify their lifestyle in accordance with any physical limitations to maintain a positive outlook on life.

Nutritional Services

After an initial assessment, patients are provided with an individualized nutrition plan to follow during their stay and are checked on a weekly basis by Saint Francis Medical Center’s dietitians and aides. At discharge, patients may receive additional feedback on future nutritional concerns.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists and assistants at Saint Francis Medical Center are focused on increasing independence and improving quality of life. This involves developing individualized treatment programs for patients to help them reach goals in regard to the social, emotional and physiological effects of illnesses and injuries, including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dementia. Caregivers also assist patients in restoring daily living activities, such as self-care, work and leisure.

Recreational Therapy

Saint Francis Medical Center’s recreational therapy caregivers work with patients to improve skills and provide information needed to ensure successful adjustment into their home or community environment.

Social Work

Social workers at Saint Francis Medical Center meet with the family members of patients to counsel them in regard to lifestyle changes and connect them to community resources to meet patients’ needs.

Support Groups

Saint Francis Medical Center offers patients and their family members access to various support groups related to a variety of neurological conditions and diseases that allow individuals to share feelings and concerns with one another in a safe, non-threatening environment.

To learn about support groups in Cape Girardeau and at Saint Francis visit our Support Groups page.