Adviser Winter 2019-20 LeadingAge New York Adviser LeadingAge NewYork Winter 2019-20 | Page 32

Feature At St. John’s Home, New Dementia Program Focuses Less on Deficits and More on Joy W e all know the crippling toll that dementia can have on family caregivers. “When families are taking care of a loved one with dementia at home and they bring them to a nursing home to live, the thing they say the most to us is, ‘I just want her [or him] to be safe,’” says Terri Abrams, RN/clinical coordinator at St. John’s Home. “We are certainly aiming higher than that.” In November 2019, St. John’s launched a new take on dementia-focused long-term care that goes well beyond simply providing a safe place for residents to exist. Beyond Memory focuses on the idea that people Beyond Memory focuses on the idea that people living with dementia have the right to live a life filled with joy. living with dementia have the right to live a life filled with joy. This holistic approach to caring for skilled nursing residents will ensure the safety and security of residents while also honoring their individual histories and personal preferences for how they live their lives. another form of dementia. St. John’s saw a 66 percent decrease in the rate of high-risk behaviors among residents with dementia and a 45 percent increase in family satisfaction. “We have been working with the staff a lot, particularly on their approach,” says Mimi DeVinney, St. John’s dementia/quality of life specialist. The implementation of dementia-specific trainings began in new employee orientation, as the high rate of dementia throughout most senior communities means that every employee in every department will interact with residents with dementia at some point. “We try to catch new people as they come in and provide training, but we also work with our clinical staff as challenges arise,” adds DeVinney. Thus, additional coaching and brainstorming help employees develop a different, more successful approach to care. Beyond Memory is the logical next step for St. John’s following the completion of the Dementia Quality of Life program, a three-year, multipronged intervention funded through the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. The grant program resulted in impressive advances in the care and support of the nearly 80 percent of St. John’s residents who live with Alzheimer’s disease or 31 Adviser a publication of LeadingAge New York | Winter 2019-20 (See At St. John’s Home on page 32)