One of These Is Not Like The Other

June 19, 2013
Virgil Thomas,

Dementia is not psychosis.

But sometimes people get them confused and treat them the same. Just like how sometimes the Barista gets confused and treats my black cup of coffee the same as a mocha-chino frappesomething.

I know not everyone is a medial expert or a coffee expert. That’s fine, I’m neither. But at some point we have to realize one is not like the other and demands different treatment. Thanks go to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for pointing out what so many of us have known for so long:

Individualized, person-centered approaches may help reduce potentially distressing or harmful behaviors and promote improved functional abilities and quality of life for residents,” according to a CMS memo addressed to state survey agency directors.

It has been a common practice of some nursing homes and hospitals to sweep the behaviors of people living with dementia under the rug by masking them with anti-psychotics. You know, just like how 30 years ago we would deal with it by strapping them to the bed.

The Eden Alternative is delighted CMS is approaching this problem head on, and we are proud to be playing an active role in their initiative to reduce anti-psychotic use through our Dementia Beyond Drugs training.

Through a recent grant-funded effort in Tennessee, nearly 600 people participated in this training. Based on the award-winning book by Dr. Al Power, care partners are armed with the tools to think critically through a situation.

Using the Eden culture-change tradition, our training debunks the current, unworkable paradigm of dementia care and gives care partners a new lens through which to view the condition.

The result is a relationship where nurses and doctors identify the Elder as a human being. By treating with dignity, not drugs, the Elder is saved from the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.

13 Comments. Leave new

Moving past drugs begins with knowing that one is not like the other


So true, where I work I have been employed to make the environment more home like. I work with the residents using a person centered approach. Staff are constantly surprised at how calm the residents are with me. Its not rocket science, I just treat them with dignity and respect and they respond appropriately.


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