Revolutionizing Dementia Care | Viewing & Discussion

Revolutionizing Dementia Care Viewing & Discussion 

Panel Discussion Emphasizes More Work is Needed to Significantly Change the Landscape of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

English Rose Suites hosted a viewing of the documentary Revolutionizing Dementia Care, which features its residential care environment, followed by a panel discussion with medical, aging advocacy and care delivery experts to discuss the state of person-centered care.

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The panel consisted of: Bret Haake, MD, a clinical neurologist with HealthPartners and Chief Medical Officer at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., Karen Love, Executive Director of the Dementia Action Alliance in Washington, D.C., Jayne Clairmont, owner and CEO English Rose Suites & b♦home Home Care, Chris Johnson, MD, head of Consultative Health and Medicine and primary medical doctor at English Rose Suites, and Kirsten Voss, daughter of an English Rose Suites resident.

“We’re still in the dark ages in thinking about dementia,” said Love, who has devoted the last 40 years to improving dementia awareness and care delivery on a national scale. “Person-centered care has been adopted as the global standard for dementia care. But the challenge is, what does that mean?”

Person-centered care focuses on the entire person — head, heart and soul — and emphasizes real engagement and validation as a person. In contrast to a one-size-fits all, institutional approach, person-centered care designs activities that incorporate each resident’s interests, strengths and abilities in comfortable daily routines — keeping them engaged in the present while honoring the past.

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“Touch and love are vital parts of the person-centered care approach. Our residents want to feel safe, but they also want to feel belonging,” Clairmont said. “The standard of person-centered care exists — it just needs to be adopted.”

Today, there are five million people living with dementia in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide — with 10 million new global cases reported each year, Love said. With a growing aging population, the need to transform dementia care is more critical than ever.

“I do see a growing awareness of the need for individuality, and facilities are investing in more activities for residents, but change is slow,” Dr. Johnson said. “There’s still a lot of variation among facilities in how to give meaning and purpose in daily activities.”

There is a distinct difference between care environments that practice person-centered care versus those that don’t, Voss said. Her mother was diagnosed with dementia and initially lived in an institutionalized environment.

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“The activities director was there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 35 people living at the facility,” Voss said. “Every night, my mother called me very anxious because no one was helping her transition to the next part of her day.”

The ratio of caregivers to residents at English Rose Suites is 1:3. When Voss’ mother was moved to English Rose Suites, she began to thrive because staff went into her mother’s world — rather than imposing their world on her, Voss said.

Dr. Haake echoed the benefits of person-centered care and its focus on exercise, nutrition and keeping the mind active. He also recommends intergenerational connections and the use of technology such as playing a game on an iPad with a grandchild to promote brain stimulation.

“Things are getting better, but we have a long way to go,” Haake said. “The people on this panel are very committed to this.”

View the entire panel discussion and watch the documentary, Revolutionizing Dementia Care, at