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Pardee wins grant for 'dementia friendly' treatment of patients

Pardee UNC Health Care, as part of UNC Health Care, has received a grant from the Duke Endowment Foundation to improve the hospital experience for dementia patients.


The protocol from the grant is intended to meet the unique needs of patients who have dementia by ensuring hospital staff are trained to recognize dementia in their patients and provide dementia-friendly care. Of the 55,000 patients ages 65 and above discharged from the four participating UNC Health Care hospitals in 2016, about 10 percent had some form of dementia.

The goals of the initiative are to reduce falls, length of stay and readmissions within 30 days. In addition, the initiative aims to increase patient satisfaction scores; increase hospital staff and provider knowledge regarding the distinctions between delirium, dementia and depression; and increase hospital staff/provider confidence in their ability to assess, recognize, treat and communicate with dementia patients.

Training will be mandatory for any staff who come in direct contact with patients or families of patients. This includes inpatient providers and outpatient practices and services. Pardee plans to train 700 employees through the Cares HealthCare Interactive online modules as well as live training sessions. Staff will be awarded certificates of completion upon finishing their modules.

“At Pardee, our mission is to serve every patient and family who walks through our doors and provide them with high-quality, compassionate care,” said Bridget Barron, nursing service director for Pardee's PATHS program (Psychiatric & Addictions Therapeutic Healing Services). “By training our team members and establishing a dementia-friendly culture, we can improve the experience of our patients with dementia as well as their families, and give our staff confidence in providing appropriate care for these patients’ unique needs.”

“Dementia-friendly best practices can include assigning morning appointments to patients with dementia, adding color to the meal tray so patients with dementia can see their food, placing an identifier on the patient’s door, offering alternative activities to help calm patients during exams or procedures, and training patient companion volunteers,” said Erin Fitzpatrick, a behavioral health nurse educator at Pardee. “By implementing hospital-wide measures, we will improve the health and overall well-being of our dementia patients.”