FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 18, 2010
Glen Cove Hospital Spearheads Education Program to Help Nurses, Staff Improve Alzheimer’s Care
GLEN COVE, NY – Recognizing that a hospital stay for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can provoke anxiety and confusion, Glen Cove Hospital recently teamed with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) to train Geriatric Unit nurses and other caregivers on how to enhance patient care.
“We are proud to become the first hospital in the country with the largest number of staff members to complete specialized training in dementia care developed by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America,” Dennis Connors, executive director of Glen Cove Hospital, said at a recent ceremony honoring nurses and patient care associates who achieved qualification by the Dementia Care Professionals of America (DCPA), a branch of the AFA. “This achievement is truly a great honor, and I commend our dedicated nurses and caregivers for their vision and commitment to providing sensitive, quality care for patients with dementia in our community.”
According to the AFA, DCPA addresses a problem of escalating proportion in the United States: as many as 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 16 million are expected to be affected by the disease within 40 years. Yet healthcare professionals’ knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and treatment options, and their capabilities related to cognitive stimulation therapies, communication skills and practical issues, often falls short of what is required to properly care for those with this disease and assist their family members.
“We applaud Glen Cove Hospital for recognizing the importance of creating the proper environment for hospitalized individuals with dementia, and going the extra mile to provide its geriatric staff with dementia specific training,” said Eric J. Hall, president and chief executive officer of the AFA. “By having the most AFA-qualified dementia care providers and specialists of any hospital in the nation, Glen Cove has set a precedent. We challenge other hospitals to follow suit and bring to their communities the optimal care and compassion that individuals with dementia and their families deserve.”
Twenty seven nurses and 18 patient care associates of Glen Cove’s Geriatric Unit, known as 2 South, completed coursework and training through the DCPA, which offers practical membership, training and continuing education to all levels of healthcare professionals. Staff members who successfully completed DCPA's comprehensive DVD-based training earned qualification as AFA dementia care providers and specialists. Patient care associates had eight hours of coursework, while registered nurses completed 16 hours of training.
Impetus for the training program through DCPA began about three years ago, when the program was recommended to Glen Cove Hospital by the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills, NY, which is recognized for its senior programs and services for individuals with dementia and families needing support, as well as patient advocacy.
Elaine Evangelou Soto, RN, nurse manager of Glen Cove’s Geriatric Unit, who spearheaded the dementia training at the hospital, said that often many elderly patients admitted to the hospital have a secondary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease; these patients are generally admitted with a primary diagnosis of pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or an infection. “Caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia requires a certain skill set. It requires that we have a clear understanding of the disease process and its symptoms, so caregivers can communicate effectively and provide the appropriate treatment,” she said.
“We’ve also implemented some changes to the Geriatric Unit to be more comforting to patients with Alzheimer’s,” said Ms. Evangelou Soto. For example, after consulting with AFA experts, the units’ patient rooms are painted in a soothing pastel pink and less harsh lighting was installed. “Besides enhancing our clinical skills, the changes made in the overall environment have helped nurses and other caregivers provide the care that Alzheimer’s patients require. On the Geriatric Unit our goal is to provide patient and family-centered dementia care.”
Established in 2004, DCPA has trained more than 4,000 dementia care professionals nationwide, including home health aides, certified nursing assistants, social workers, nurses and physicians. Its training program is based on the Dementia Education and Training Program, the official statewide training program authorized in Alabama. For more information, visit www.careprofessionals.org
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites more than 1,400 member organizations nationwide. AFA's services include a toll-free hot line staffed by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine, National Memory Screening Day and professional training. For more information, visit www.alzfdn.org or call 866-232-8484
About North Shore-LIJ Health System
Glen Cove Hospital , a 265-bed acute care facility, is part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. The nation's third largest, non-profit, secular healthcare system, the North Shore-LIJ Health System cares for people of all ages throughout Long Island, Queens and Staten Island – a service area encompassing more than five million people. The winner of the National Quality Forum’s 2010 National Quality Healthcare Award, the North Shore-LIJ Health System consists of 14 hospitals, 17 long-term care facilities, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, three trauma centers, five home health agencies, a hospice network and dozens of outpatient centers. In addition, North Shore-LIJ is partnering with Hofstra University to develop a new medical school. North Shore-LIJ’s owned facilities house about 5,000 beds, employ more than 9,500 nurses and have affiliations with more than 7,500 physicians. Its workforce of about 38,000 is the largest on Long Island and the ninth largest in New York City. For more information, go to www.northshorelij.com.
Contact: Carol Steinberg
Alzheimer's Foundation of America