Case Study: Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center

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Following a rise in cognitive and behavioral disturbances among the client population at the 120-bed Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center in northwest Florida, administrator Jo Buckles recognized the need for a staff that was knowledgeable and skilled in dementia care. So when Florida's long-term-care trust fund offered grant funding to facilities that took steps to improve the quality of life for their residents, Buckles surveyed the available training programs and chose Dementia Care Specialists (DCS) to educate the staff.

As part of a comprehensive, innovative program approach, DCS initially trained department heads and occupational therapists in the philosophy and operational basics of dementia programming. The success of those programs led Buckles to expose all employees who had contact with residents to DCS' Dementia Capable Care DVD.

"Before undergoing the training, we were providing excellent care, but didn't really understand or appreciate the unique needs and abilities of residents with dementia, or how to draw out their full potential," Buckles indicated. "On one level, we were enablers of residents' dependence—we were limited in our thinking about their capabilities."


Incorporating DCS training modules, Ayers now evaluates residents for their cognitive levels and designs programming to maximize use of individual capabilities and independence. "The DCS training has changed the philosophy and approach of our care model. We no longer focus on people coming in debilitated. Our program's emphasis on individual capabilities has led to improved quality of lives—some families have commented that their parent has really blossomed."

What are the specific outcomes of a facility-wide implementation of the DCS training programs? According to Buckles, there are clear, consistent, and extensive instances of residents being better understood and treated with more respect by members of the health care team. Improved quality-of-life measures include:
  • Reduced behavior medications.
  • Elimination of restraints.
  • Decreased incidents of falls and related injuries.
  • Demonstrable increases in independent living.
  • Decreased weight loss.

Likewise, the facility has seen tangible facility, operational, and budget benefits, including:
  • Improved employee job satisfaction.
  • Reduced staff turnover.
  • Consistently high patient census levels.
  • Higher patient satisfaction survey responses.
  • CMS Five Star Rating.

"Rather than viewing residents' limitations and doing things ‘for' them, we have created a new environment in which all staff sees the resident at the center—rather than on the periphery—of care," Buckles added. "We have moved from a task-centered to a person-centered system."

Facility programming has changed to focus on skill development. "Instead of more passive entertainment activities such as a game of bingo, we now make daily activities like housekeeping, cooking, dining, and dressing as part of the drive to encourage independence. A great by-product of this increased independence is that staff have more time to spend with residents, and the relationships are far stronger and satisfying for both the residents and staff members."

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