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 New Dementia Care Guiding Principles Available

A new set of “Guiding Principles for Dementia Care in Assisted Living” was released recently by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) to help providers in their development of care processes that incorporate the complexities involved in caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“This guiding principles document assists providers in developing care processes that are focused on the resident with dementia and the related special issues,” says Patricia Giorgio, owner of Evergreen Estates, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and chair of NCAL’s Quality Committee.

“The tool provides assisted living communities with ideas for incorporation into daily operations on how to improve the resident’s quality of life and quality of care and how to create staff education specifically about residents with dementia.”

The document explores many aspects of care, including evaluating residents, detecting depression, conducting pain evaluation and management, and developing new staff education programs or expanding existing programs.

For example, under the “Person-Centered Care” section, assisted living communities that choose to adopt a person-centered philosophy and approach to care will likely know each resident as an individual, with a life history, strengths, weaknesses, needs, preferences, and expectations. In addition, staff members form meaningful relationships with residents’ family members. The principles emphasize that the resident is in charge of decision making, with assistance from a family member or a designated surrogate decision maker if the resident is unable to fully communicate.

—Lisa Gelhaus

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