I’m so pleased to present this video about the wonderful work of staff members at the Specialty Care Clinic of the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center. As you can see, these dedicated staff members have created a warm, safe, comfortable, and person-centered environment for the patients/long-term stay residents with dementia in their care.

Back in 2010, in an effort to improve care at the clinic, recreational therapist Amie Dorney wrote a piece about how the special care units needed more staff training and other initiatives in order to help patients thrive. The result was grant funding, and the clinic pursued sensitivity training, the building of a multisensory environment, and Dementia Capable Care training.

We conducted on-site training at the clinic. Twenty-three staff members participated in our Foundation course, and seven staff members participated in our train-the-trainer program. Those seven staff members are now Dementia Capable Care Certified Instructors who train other staff members in our program.

Amie is one of the clinic’s seven Instructors, and she and her fellow trainers deserve special acknowledgment for infusing their colleagues with such a compassionate and person-centered approach to care. Staff at the hospital take into consideration their patients’/long-term stay residents’ interests, as well as their physical and cognitive abilities, and coordinate programs that are tailored to the needs and preferences of each person in care.

True to the heart of our Dementia Capable Care program, staff at the clinic focus on patients’/long-term stay residents’ remaining abilities—not on doing things for the persons in their care, but on doing meaningful leisure and daily-living activities with the persons in their care. They help their patients/long-term stay residents do as much as they can themselves. This creates for each person a sense of purpose and accomplishment, helping them feel dignity and joy in their abilities and the quality of the care they receive.

We are so pleased to have contributed to the creation of this very special space. We are deeply proud of the difference these staff members make in the lives of those they serve. We invite you to learn more about the VA’s innovations.