News | February 14, 2017

CaringKind's Palliative Care Initiative Revolutionizes Nursing Home Care For New Yorkers With Advanced Dementia

New York /PRNewswire/ - CaringKind, NYC's leading expert in Alzheimer's and dementia care for more than three decades, announced today that three local nursing homes - Cobble Hill Health Center, Isabella Geriatric Center and The New Jewish Home - have successfully implemented a ground-breaking approach to the care of people with dementia. Known as Comfort Matters®, the program is revolutionizing dementia care in long-term care facilities by educating care providers about evidence-based best practices that focus on the comfort of residents.

Comfort Matters® is the "comfort-focused care approach" developed by Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, Arizona, a center of excellence and leader in aging services. Comfort Matters® is dedicated to improving the quality of care and life for people with dementia.

The CaringKind initiative was administered in partnership with Beatitudes Campus.

Lou-Ellen Barkan, CaringKind's President and CEO (formerly known as the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter), said, "There is no more important role for long-term care providers than to bring comfort to people with advanced dementia, and by extension, to their families and friends. Palliative care means taking active steps to discover what comforts someone and gives them pleasure and, equally important, taking active steps to prevent or avoid unnecessary pain and suffering."

About 75% of people with dementia will spend time in a nursing home. Comfort Matters'® education focuses on changes needed to implement improved practices in key areas including:

  • Better identification and management of pain, weight loss and other symptoms;
  • Relieving the emotional distress that often results in challenging behaviors experienced by residents with late stage dementia;
  • Implementing measures and care practices that provide comfort to residents with late stage dementia; and
  • Reducing medically aggressive and cure-focused treatments for terminally ill dementia residents.

Results include reduced use of antipsychotic drugs, less resistance to care, less reliance on supplements, less evidence of pain, improved staff knowledge and staff satisfaction, and greatly improved family satisfaction.

Jed Levine, CaringKind's EVP, Director of Programs and Services, said, "Whether it's allowing a resident to sleep until noon, or giving him his favorite brand of frozen pizza at midnight, no longer are nursing home staffs wed to rigid schedules and arbitrary rules. The comfort of the patient comes first. These seemingly small changes are having an enormous effect on the quality of life for elders with dementia, as well as for the staff."

These New York nursing homes join an elite group of long-term care facilities across the nation that have met the rigorous standards for the nationally-recognized Comfort Matters® accreditation.

The success of this project was enhanced by participation of the hospices working alongside the three nursing homes: Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice & Palliative Care; MJHS Hospice & Palliative Care, NYC; and Calvary Hospice.

CaringKind has published a manual, Palliative Care for People with Dementia: Why Comfort Matters in Long-Term Care, designed to show providers how to achieve an effective palliative care program. It is available for free at http://www.caringkindnyc.org/_pdf/CaringKind-PalliativeCareGuidelines.pdf

CaringKind is indebted to its funders including: The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.; Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, Inc.; The Mayday Fund; the Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation; PARC Foundation; United Hospital Fund; and the Altman Foundation. Additional contributions came from: 1199 SEIU Training & Employment Fund & The Greater New York Education Fund; Caccappolo Family Fund; Daniel and Nancy Finke; Matthew Furman and Judy Hecker Furman; Ben Jenkins; and Sharon Kilmer. CaringKind and its Junior Committee also allocated funds to this project.

SOURCE: CaringKind

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