Myongji Hospital – Gold Winner of the Excellence Award for Corporate Social Responsibility

Date:  10 January 2024

Myongji Hospital recognized as Gold winner for the Seddiqi Holding Excellence Award for Corporate Social Responsibility at the 2023 IHF Awards

Centenarians’ good memory school: 10 years of art therapy for brain health of dementia patients in the community

As the future of South Korea’s ageing society plays out, dementia is at the backdrop, already affecting as many as 570,000 patients. The country’s overall response had been limited to early screening and hospital medication, so healthcare providers still needed to find ways to care for patients and their families.

That’s why in 2012, Myongji Hospital, one of South Korea’s representative hospitals, started “Centenarians’ Good Memory School,” a free, non-pharmacologic treatment and cognitive art therapy program for patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. It had plenty of goals, but the priority was to improve patients’ cognitive function and their ability to do daily activities and to manage mental disorders through music and art therapy, as well as cognitive training.

Its pioneer team comprised a neuropsychiatrist, neurologist, rehabilitation medicine specialist, geriatrician and art therapy specialist. Their work shaped the prototype of the operations that were then standardized and presented as an integrated model. The program kicked off its operations by taking charge of the Gyeonggi Provincial Dementia Center, considered as the “control tower” of Gyeonggi-do province’s Dementia Management Project. The province, where 21.8% of dementia patients in the country resided at the time, was fertile ground to start treatment.

In the span of a decade, the program handled 5,965 cases in 381 sessions and also provided 108 sessions of the cognitive rehabilitation program and 1,370 cases of dementia detection and early screening to local governments.

To future-proof the program, Myongji Hospital also aimed to expand its operations by educating staff so that the standardized program can be executed nationwide. The strategy involved opening academies, publishing books, providing online training and developing ICT programs. For its on-site workers, the program opened an academy that teaches the theory and practical methods of cognitive art therapy, and relevant guidebooks were released. It partnered with ten different organizations including local governments and institutions, and conducted training for workers 14 times.

Dementia education continued even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An ICT cognitive intervention program was developed to accommodate virtual demand. Training videos for the care of the elderly living alone and dementia patients at the school were also produced. In partnership with the Comprehensive Support Center for the Elderly Living Alone, nationwide online training was given to 12,963 workers aiding high-risk, elderly individuals living alone.

Community-centered triumph

The program’s focus on community-based treatment and expansion allowed it to earn the praise of its patients and guardians. With an overall satisfaction rate of 4.6 out of 5, participants found the program highly beneficial for practicing dementia prevention in daily life (4.6) and expressed their willingness to recommend it to others (4.6).

Patients’ average scores on several examinations showed improvements. These included the score for the Korean Mini-Mental State Examination (K-MMSE) which rose from 18.7 to 19.7. On the Korean Dementia Screening Questionnaire-Cognition (KDSQ-C), their average score improved from 14.5 to 12.6. On the Seoul-Instrument Activities Daily Living (S-IADL), their average score improved from 17.6 to 15.7.

A paper on the effectiveness of the program was published twice in the international academic journal Dementia and Neurocognitive Disorders (DND) and will be published in Frontiers in Public Health soon. In 2021, the paper won the Excellence Award at the Korean Dementia Association. The program received the Gyeonggi-do Governor’s Award in 2022 in recognition of the social contribution of the Dementia Management Project. Several international award bodies also recognized the program. Overall, their activities for dementia management have positively influenced policy-making in South Korea.

Find out more about Myongji Hospital

Myongji Hospital has been operating since 1987, and the mission of the hospital is ‘Patient First’. The hospital operates 35
medical departments and 37 specialized medical centers with about 680 beds and is one of the representative general
hospitals in South Korea.

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Written by:

Eleonor Angeles

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