VHS Team Presents on Comprehensive Dementia Care at American Healthcare Association

The Panel of Experts

Miekka Milliken, Social Services and Admissions Coordinator, and Cameo Rogers, Life Enrichment Coordinator for Vetter Health Services presented in collaboration with Erin Bonitto, from Gemini Consulting at the American Healthcare Association National Convention held at The Gaylord at National Harbor in Washington D.C. from October 6 – 9, 2014. Their session entitled: Skill-Based Dementia Coaching – Transforming Culture, Developing Champions and Preventing Behaviors without Psychotropic Medications.

Miekka and Cameo were able to share how VHS has been implementing dementia communication coaching throughout VHS communities, individual resident success stories, as well as organization-wide data that supports the success of this program in the first year of its implementation.

Attendees understand what should be done to improve dementia care, such as reducing psychotropics, adopting person-centered care and encouraging all team members to be behavior detectives. The challenge is finding the right tools to tackle these important initiatives. Hands-on, skill-based dementia communication coaching has been described by many providers as the ‘missing link.’

Guided by Erin, Cameo & Miekka, team members from all disciplines learned how to master the specific skills needed for their role. Rather than focusing on how to handle challenging behaviors when they occur, skill coaching focuses on communication skills as tools to prevent challenging behaviors. Example of this skill coaching: Nurses practice how to provide medication to a person who often refuses, housekeepers practice how to gently guide a person away from an exit; nursing assistants practice guiding to the bathroom; servers practice how to simplify menu ordering, and so on.
Erin Bonitto, a nationally-known dementia skill coach, demonstrated several skills, but she also conducted mini-coaching sessions, so participants took home skills to use immediately.

Cameo Rogers and Miekka Milliken of Vetter Health Services described how skill-based coaching has served as the cornerstone of their journey toward ‘world-class dementia care’ at their 30 Vetter Health Services locations. Together they shared their outcomes of skill-based coaching, including, reductions in psychotropic use, team member successes, family satisfaction, progress toward person-centered care and overall impact on organizational culture.

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