HJ/EDJune 12, 2006

Lakeside shows change in dementia care

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Dassel Lakeside believes in integrating instead of segregating its Alzheimer’s and dementia patients with the rest of the nursing home residents, according to Lakeside Administrator Bill Ward.

Lakeside Home has rejected the concept of specialized and segregated living quarters for memory residents.

“We have learned that many individuals actually do better mainstreamed into a regular resident population,” said Juli Miller RN and director of nursing services.

“We have seen people transfer into Lakeside from small specialty units where they failed to thrive, and seemingly reconnect again with the real world,” explained Miller.

Many families are challenged with finding the best care for a relative with dementia and are faced with many options including nursing homes, Alzheimer’s units, apartments for memory care and assisted living and home care.

Many of these settings are promoting themselves as alternatives to nursing homes and imply nursing homes are a bad option, Ward said.

Stereotypes of the drooling, over medicated, restrained, violent and bored residents who lack their freedom are often portrayed as being in nursing homes.

The staff at Dassel Lakeside Home understand this stereotype doesn’t exist in the local nursing home.

With literature mixed as to whether segregated specialized care settings or general population settings are better, and some showing little difference either way, Bill Ward, Lakeside administrator, says, “In reality, each person should be evaluated for his or her own particular needs. No one setting is best for everyone.”

An important aspect for caring for dementia clients is understanding their needs and what they can and can’t do, Miller said.

Ward also explained that many dementia clients have other medical conditions that only a skilled nursing home setting has the licensing and proper equipment to care for them.

Lakeside also provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for their clients so they can maintain “as high of functions as physically possible,” Miller said.

Cost is also a factor in finding the proper facility. Lakeside serves both private pay and Medicaid paid residents while other facilities may limit the access of Medicaid residents.

Lakeside has been in the business of caring for memory impaired clients since 1963 and has 85 staff, 75 volunteers and 53 residents with almost half being dementia/Alzheimer’s clients.

Every nursing home receives yearly training and specialized training throughout the year. Lakeside will be having an in-services training session, “Dining with Dementia,” for the staff.

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