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Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Recognized for Innovation in Dementia Care

August 9, 2017

On June 21, 2017, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network was awarded the Innovation of the Year Distinguished Service Award by LeadingAge PA for our work in developing much needed educational sessions designed to assist emergency teams in the transitional care of residents with dementia.

The Distinguished Service Awards recognize people who give their time, talents and abundant energy to the field of aging and demonstrate a deep commitment to serving seniors.

LeadingAge PA is the association which represents Pennsylvania not-for-profit organizations that provide housing, healthcare and community services primarily to the elderly.

As part of our ongoing commitment to community outreach, our team of dementia coordinators from across the Network developed and implemented training modules that increased understanding and provided specialized techniques to improve care for individuals living with dementia. These modules were utilized to educate registered nurses in the ER, nursing units and quality improvement teams at hospitals as well as first responders such as local fire and police departments and EMS teams.

Our teams taught dementia basics, how to recognize common behaviors and how to handle them, effective communication and how to effectively work with families. A large part of this initiative was the creation of a “resident history” form that outlines what causes anxiety, their likes and dislikes, how they may react in particular situations, and phrases that they find calming. The form accompanies the resident during transitions from a Presbyterian SeniorCare Network community to the hospital.

Pre- and Post-tests were given to those who participated in the training. The results reflected 100% improvement in comfort level and/or competency when interacting with individuals living with dementia. Our teams continue to replicate these education efforts at local hospitals and amongst first responders, proving our commitment to being socially accountable and to sharing our dementia expertise.

Realizing the Impact of Our Work: A Testimonial

Kathy Otruba, RN, EMT-B, NASR Tech II, Commander, Lower Kiski Search and Rescue Team: “The Lower Kiski Search and Rescue K-9 Team was looking for a seminar on how to better communicate and approach a lost person who is living with dementia. We reached out to Presbyterian SeniorCare Network and our request was met with infectious enthusiasm. Their innovative and informative program met our expectations and more. We were given invaluable information and creative approaches to interact with someone who is lost and has dementia. The hands-on role playing of various scenarios enabled us to interact and cement our new knowledge. We look forward to working with Presbyterian SeniorCare Network in the future to better serve our community by presenting this mutually beneficial program to other local Search and Rescue teams.”

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