Oklahoma Sees Results from Dementia Training… and More is On the Way

August 18, 2015
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

Person-Directed Dementia Care-2

A recent Eden Alternative final report for a CMP-funded grant project reveals that training in person-directed dementia care can make a difference. In 2014, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) awarded The Eden Alternative grant dollars to support Oklahoma’s reduction of antipsychotic drug use through the delivery of Dementia Beyond Drugs training. Based on the book by award-winning geriatrician Dr. Al Power, the 2-day training aims to shift the focus of dementia care from managing so-called “difficult behaviors” to, instead, identifying and responding to the unmet needs that are typically their underlying cause. Often overlooked, unmet needs can lead to distress, which frequently dominoes into the overuse of antipsychotic medications for those who live with dementia.

In May 2015, 350 training participants, a combination of nursing home employees, surveyors, and ombudsmen, completed an assessment process highlighting their perceptions and attitudes both prior to and immediately after the training. The evaluation process revealed that participants experienced an overall 9% shift toward person-directed perceptions of and approaches to, dementia care – nearly double the project’s proposed outcome of a 5% shift after two days of training. Findings showed that not only did participants make a significant move away from institutional ways of thinking about dementia care, but they also conveyed confidence in their ability to apply the non-pharmacological solutions that they learned.

These positive outcomes inspired OSDH to grant The Eden Alternative an additional $284,000 to expand the scope of the project for another year in partnership with the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (OFMQ). This second project phase will offer a new set of Oklahoma-based participants the opportunity to take their learning deeper. Track One of the project offers a limited number of participants the option to combine Dementia Beyond Drugs training with an online experience of the Care Partner Workshop (Dementia-Specific Focus) adapted from Eden at Home. This interactive, team-based training will engage family members, side-by-side with nursing home employees, to strengthen care partnerships and overall well-being on the team, as a way to collaboratively respond to the needs of those who live with dementia. Track Two of the project gives participants the option to register for Dementia Beyond Drugs training alone.

According to August 2015 data from the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes, Oklahoma currently ranks as 38th in the country, when it comes to reducing antipsychotic medications. This is an improvement since the inception of the National Partnership, and an opportunity for Oklahomans to keep up the good work.

Do you know where your state currently ranks in the fight to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications? What creative efforts are being made in your state to move in this direction? Consider bringing key stakeholders together to take stock of statewide goals and gains and brainstorm how you can work together to fight for optimized use of medication. As they say at Nike, just do it.

Learn more about this grant-funded opportunity if you are an Oklahoma-based Medicare and/or Medicaid participating nursing home.

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