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„COPE-D" – Focus Speech and Language Therapy

Background and aims

Cooperative Programme for the Empowerment of those Affected by Beginning Dementia

Because of demographic development, the number of expected dementia sufferers is steadily increasing. By the year 2050, the number of people suffering from dementia will be around 3-5% of the total population (in Switzerland this will mean 250 000 – 500 000 people in an expected population of 8.1 million). Include the estimated number of unknown cases and this number can be multiplied by a minimum factor of 1.5.  

Current indications are that chronic progressive illnesses respond less to those forms of therapy that offer continual treatment as opposed to those forms of therapy that work with impulses and intervals and in conjunction with a combination of medicinal and non-medicinal therapies together with accompanying counselling.

This research project takes reference to the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health's clearly formulated wish for the comprehensive implementation of the ICF (the WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health).

When we look back at papers published in the speech and language therapy field in German-speaking countries over the last five years, it is clear that dementia has found its way into the logopaedic-speech and language therapy discussion. A relatively large amount is known about the symptoms of dementia but the current possibilities for intervention are still at a very early stage. As no diagnostic inventory or standard therapies exist, the question of indication is soonest answered. The consensus seems to be that focus should be placed on assessment and treatment in the first phase of dementia. In later phases of the illness, attention will turn to the protection, relief and adjustment of those affected.


This is where our development project comes in: COPE-D is both cooperative and supportive.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. To prepare an initial diagnostic inventory for language deterioration in beginning dementia to include clarification of the indication, medical history, dialogue questioning and dialogue observation
  2. Production of a DVD for use in the field of symptomatology to highlight the resources of those affected and possible dialogue partners
  3. To offer a concept for biography-orientated text work as a speech and language based therapy.


Diagnosis, therapy and advice proposals will function within the ICF framework.





Project Management

Prof. Dr. habil.   Steiner


Financial support


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe