Welcome to ecumenawakenings.org and our new blog on care for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
This site has grown out of the work that we and many of our colleagues began at Ecumen in 2010. Our desire was to transform how we approach care for Alzheimer’s and dementia care. We sought to see if we could make lives better by taking a more holistic, integrated care approach to help people live more peaceful, enriching lives and through that approach reduce unnecessary, long-term uses of antipsychotics among people who do not have a primary diagnosis of psychosis.
Our pilot program in a single nursing home helped us to see how holistic care approaches, new collaboration with physicians, and new collaborations among the entire care team are not only possible, but they make life better – for the people we serve and those professionals who have a calling to care.
We have moved from that original pilot to integrating Ecumen Awakenings into 15 nursing homes. We continue to learn and our efforts continue to grow. In that time, we’ve been able to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications and in this process we have been honored to be partners in helping people “awaken” in ways that include such changes as improved alertness, fewer behavioral outbursts, more verbal expressions, increased serenity, and improved sleep.
Until a cure is found for Alzheimer’s, we as a country must care. And based on what we’ve experienced in our Awakenings work, we know there is a better way to care than simply defaulting to long-term use of antipsychotics to blunt behavioral expressions that often arise in Alzheimer’s and related dementias. It is a way that recognizes and empowers abilities of the people entrusted in our care and of each care team member.
We invite you to learn more, join us on Facebook and share your insights, resources and stories with others . In this blog, we plan to share insights from our experience and other information that we hope helps others change the culture of Alzheimer’s care for the better in America and beyond.
Shelley Matthes RN-BC, BSN, RAC-CT, Director of Quality Improvement, Ecumen
Maria Reyes, RN, Ecumen Awakenings Manager