What is the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Wristband Project?
The fact is the majority of hospital workers are not trained in the unique needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. To further complicate matters, they are understaffed which means every moment is precious. Simply put, dementia patients often do not receive the special care they require and the results can be disastrous.
Gary LeBlanc is doing something about this. LeBlanc is founder of the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project, currently being piloted at Brooksville Regional Hospital in Hernando County, Florida. Having had nightmarish experiences of his own as his father’s primary caregiver, he saw a need and jumped into action.
The premise is simple, but getting there is going to take a lot of hard work. The wristband project does several things:
The Purple Angel logo, originally developed in the UK and inspired by Norman McNamara, is quickly becoming an internationally accepted symbol for Dementia Awareness for all dementia related diseases. A big key to the success of this project, LeBlanc emphasizes, is that one standard symbol is used across all healthcare systems making it instantly recognizable.
LeBlanc also stresses the importance of the education component, noting that knowledge, understanding, and compassion will lead to improved care. By ensuring staff members are aware of the underlying dementia diagnosis, opportunities for misunderstandings will be reduced, and special precautions can be taken to minimize falls and wandering and address signs of confusion, sundowning, and aggression before the issue escalates.
The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project is receiving wholehearted support from the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as many other organizations and dementia care experts. LeBlanc is liberal with his praise of Patrick Maloney, CEO, and other members of the HMA/Hernando Healthcare leadership team for their willing and enthusiastic involvement in the pilot. With 71 hospitals in 15 states, HMA, the parent of Brooksville Regional Hospital, provides a great avenue for expansion of the program.
So, what’s next? Well, interest is spreading quickly; LeBlanc has been contacted by the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society as well as dementia-related organizations in New Zealand, Australia and across the United States. It is our sincere hope that adoption will be swift so one day soon every hospital staff member across the U.S. (and beyond) will recognize the Purple Angel and its significance – leading to world-class dementia care!
We are on our way to seeing that our loved ones with dementia will have safer and less confused stays at the hospital.
Do you want to get involved? Let your local hospital and Alzheimer’s Association chapter know that you support adoption of Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project.
Gary Joseph LeBlanc is a columnist and author of the books Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness and Managing Alzheimer’s & Dementia Behavior, and co-author of While I Still Can.
This is the Tampa Bay Dementia Hospital Wristband Team, our goal it to make the Tampa Bay area the first hospital dementia friendly community in the country.
Left to right, Maryanne Fisher, Bernadette Homan, Taylor Penvose, Kim Schaub, Debbie Caneen, Gary Joseph LeBlanc and Christine Hamacher.
The organizations that my team members are from are Arden Courts, Bayshore Home Care, Sun Towers & Florida Gulf Coast Alzheimer's Association.
I would love to see a team in every major city. Let's make 2014 the year to make hospitals dementia friendly in the United States and other countries.
For more info go to:
Brooksville Regional Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Team
Margaret Doerr, Chief Nursing Executive
Margaret Gordon, RN, MA, LHRM Systems Director for Performance Improvement
Ann Tellini RN, System Director of Case Management
Jerry Fisher, Educator of the Florida Gulf Coast Alzheimer’s Association
Dr. Joseph Williams (Neurologist)
Gary Joseph LeBlanc, Author & Columnist of Common Sense Caregiving. Founder of Project