What this North Carolina hospital is doing to ensure it's dementia-friendly

Pinehurst, N.C.-based FirstHealth of the Carolinas launched an initiative to make its hospital better suited for dementia patients, according to The Pilot.

Under the initiative, staff will be trained and educated on special assistance that patients and families with dementia require. The staff will learn best-practice approaches to provide safe and quality care to patients struggling with the disease.

"Our goal is to provide an environment where patients with dementia are recognized and our staff understand the special care needs of patients with dementia and take the appropriate action to provide safe and efficient care," Mandi Hedgepeth, RN, coordinator of FirstHealth's dementia-friendly project, told The Pilot.

The initiative's first phase will focus on growing hospital staff's awareness of dementia and how important a dementia-friendly space is for patients. In the program's second phase, a number of protocols to improve care for patients will be developed, some of which include special room packets that include informational labels to be placed on items.

According to Medicare data cited by The Pilot, roughly a fourth of all hospital patients who are age 65 years or older are diagnosed with dementia. 

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