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Kim Warchol on Improving Long-Term Care for Dementia

Kim Warchol on Improving Long-Term Care for Dementia
What do we need to do to improve long-term care for people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia?
 
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double by 2050 [PDF]. With baby boomers aging and the dementia population exploding, a new report from the RAND Corporation identifies five main objectives that the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system needs to meet with rising urgency:
 
1.       Increase dementia awareness to reduce stigma and promote earlier detection.
2.       Improve access to and use of LTSS.
3.       Promote high quality, person-centered care.
4.       Provide better support for family caregivers.
5.       Reduce the burden of dementia costs on individuals and families.
 
An article [PDF] from the PPS Alert for Long-Term Care, an HCPro monthly newsletter, explores how facilities and providers can meet these objectives. Dementia care experts Kim Warchol, founder and president of Dementia Care Specialists; Michael Smith, president and CEO of the Al­zheimer’s Resource Center; and others were interviewed for the article. Kim emphasizes:
 
  • Focusing on what remains rather than what’s lost. Kim urges the importance of both professional and family caregivers understanding that people in most stages of dementia can still "live, love, laugh, have fun, have purpose, and be productive."
  • Training staff. From leadership to managers to behind-the-scenes staff to direct-care staff, everyone needs specialized training in tailoring care techniques to the individual.
  • Helping residents with dementia do as much as they can on their own. With appropriate supports, residents can maintain their abilities for as long as possible, and feel a sense of independence and quality of life.
 
To learn more about meeting the five objectives, read “New RAND Report Urges Providers, Policymakers to Revitalize Dementia Long-Term Care” [PDF].

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