Alzheimer’ s Australia Vic developed* the CAUSEd problem-solving tool to assist carers to understand and respond when people with dementia are communicating their unmet needs through their behaviour.
CAUSEd (Communication, Activity, Unwell/unmet needs, Story, Environment, dementia) is an easy-to-remember acronym that encourages family carers and health care workers to look beyond presenting behaviours and beyond medical-model based explanations of the origins of these behavioural responses, and to see the person with dementia.
Looking at their story, the environment they live in, their physical and emotional health, the nature of the activities they are engaged in and the communication challenges they experience, carers are able to pinpoint modifiable triggers for these responses and develop and implement support strategies specifically designed to meet the need communicated by the ‘ behaviour’ (see CAUSEd examples).
CAUSEd provides a systematic approach to problem-solving to help carers minimise the impact of responsive behaviours.
It does this by shifting the focus away from behaviours being ‘ difficult’ , ‘ challenging’ or ‘ problem’ behaviours and providing an understanding of how the physical and social environment can be challenging and unsupportive for a person with dementia.
Since 2008, CAUSEd has been an important tool in Alzheimer’ s Australia Vic’ s learning programs. In 2014-15 it was used to introduce more than 17,000 family carers and health care workers to the application of person-centred approaches to supporting people with dementia (Alzheimer’ s Australia Vic 2014-15).