PBS Frontline program on Dementia Care in Assisted Living: What should be done?

  FrontlineThe PBS Frontline program on Dementia Care in Assisted Living was disheartening in that it only looked at one corporation who had egregious harm come to their residents in their Dementia Care. My reaction was to comment about the well run facilities that have been lifesavers for families struggling to care for their loved ones with challenging care situations for dementia.

Proper training is crucial for excellent care for patients with dementia.  I worry that shining only a negative light will harm the elder with behavioral problems and their families, in that facilities will avoid admitting them. We need a dialogue about the best way to help these elders and families. What needs to be done to care for elders with behavioral problems in dementia?

In About.com Anthony Cirrillo speaks of the need for Assisted Living communities to assure quality care and references and heightens the point that if it had been a child care center, and a child died, the facility would have been shut down and people would have been sent to jail. But our culture shows little outrage. If we had a culture that truly was concerned about our elders there would be outrage

Larry Minnix of Leading Age.org, speaks to the importance of corporate culture and the crucial need for organizations to put care of vulnerable elders first. Full stop. There is no room for organizations that do not do that in the care of human beings. My experience has been that there seem to be many excellent facilities and the difference is palpable from the first meeting the family has when they come visit to learn more, Some facilities want to do the right thing but don’t have the knowledge and commitment to make sure the care is comprehensive to the needs of the elders. I continue to be concerned that as a society we must make sure we look at how to (by whatever means) provide the care for the elders with dementia who have very challenging behavioral symptoms (through no fault of their own- from bad diseases) and not allow  facilities to avoid admitting  them in an attempt to decrease their risk of bad report cards. What should be done? I invite you to please comment below.

Elizabeth Landsverk MD

Geriatrician

House calls doctor for Marin, Burlingame, San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek

Working to reduce medications, and improve enjoyment of every day