There are two types of people in the world, those who would take a dementia patient for a joy ride and those who would say it’s a waste of gas.
Healthcare providers who are serious and committed to caring for Alzheimer's and dementia patients should want to make the joy rides possible. The focus should be on optimizing quality of life and working to make memorable moments possible.
Dementia Specialty Programs should be purpose-driven, structured, holistic, visionary and evidence-based. Taking the time to get to know patients and clients in the present and in the past is necessary because it makes developing holistic plans of care based on client’s individual values, preferences and priorities possible. Dementia care involves the whole person – body, mind, spirit and emotions.
Objectives should include:
· Identifying the disease-specific needs of individuals and families
· Specifying the roles and responsibilities of members of inter-disciplinary teams
· Providing on-going education and integrating best practices in the delivery of care
· Engaging in community outreach to help combat misconceptions and the stigma
Begin by screening and selecting experienced caregivers that exemplify qualities like patience, the ability to solve problems, kindness, creative-thinking and respectfulness. Focus on education including Certified Dementia Practitioner training, cultural sensitivity training and other on-going educational opportunities. The success of any program hinges on continuous learning and adaption as the disease progresses.