The Beatitudes (http://www.beatitudescampus.org) is nationally recognized for their care of dementia patients who, like many of our LBD loved ones, have been shuttled from one facility to another as “too difficult” or “too aggressive.” And even more impressively, they do it—and do it well—with few drugs and no increase in staff.
Beatitudes Training Director Tena Alonzo was giving us a tour of the facility when a woman came down the hall and stood silently in front of us, radiating tenseness. “Hello, dear,” Tena said as she took the woman’s hands in hers and simply stood with her. After a while, Tena let go and reached up to gently cup the woman’s face. “I knooww,” she crooned. The woman stood there with little expression, passively accepting what Tena did and said. Finally, the interaction must have felt complete for she turned away and left. “She has such a hard time talking,” was all Tena said to us.
This interaction is a powerful example of how the Beatitudes works. Even though Tena knew we were on a tight schedule, she ignored us for those few minutes and made herself totally present with the woman, moving and talking at her speed, in her time—and she let the woman terminate the interaction.
Tena and the rest of the Beatitudes staff have changed the rules and the methods the industry thought necessary for dementia care. And then they did research showing that their methods work. They have found that when a facility provides a stress-free environment and trains their staff to recognize and respond to dementia patients' needs, these patients are more contented, less disorderly and seldom need those drugs that are so dangerous to our LBDers.