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HOV Dementia Care Fellowship Program is Changing Lives

Dementia Care Fellowship class group photo

Members of the 2019 Hospice of the Valley Dementia Fellowship Program.   

Meet the 2020 fellows, congrats to 2019 fellows

On Jan. 17, we break ground on the Hospice of the Valley Dementia Care & Education Center, with the goal of opening the campus in early 2021. This is a particularly exciting and important time for the our HOV Dementia Care Fellowship Program, so we increased the number of our staff in this year’s program to eight. Here are the fellows:

Hospice of the Valley fellows

Each clinical office will be represented by a “Dementia Champion.” Collectively, this group will identify the needs of the clinical staff to enhance knowledge and skills in the care of patients with dementia, family caregivers and paid caregivers.

Marion Crane, RN, team leader, Northeast.

Julie Kelly, RN, case manager, Residential Care Team – West.

Sara Meins, MSW, social worker, Residential Care Team – East.

Isabel Melcher, RN, nurse, Gardiner Home.

Maureen Paonessa, RN, nurse, Gardiner Home.

Kathy Roat, MSN, RN, team leader, Education.

Matthew Skinner, MD, medical director, Residential Care Team – Central.

Michelle Zipser, MSW, educator, Palliative Care for Dementia Team.

Fellows in our Community

Eleven individuals representing 10 organizations will implement change projects to enhance the care of persons with dementia and/or family caregivers.

Courtney Allen, vice president of program operations at Benevilla, will focus on bringing the Purple Table Project to Birt’s Bistro and other Surprise restaurants that will support dementia-friendly dining for a more predictable and comfortable experience for persons living with dementia and family care partners.

Jacqueline Bussiere, Enliven program assistant at Maravilla Scottsdale, will design and implement campus-based dementia education for all staff, along with enhanced family education.

Heather Day, intensive case manager, and Dasia Todd, intensive navigation supervisor with Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS), will enhance their knowledge of dementia and ability to proactively screen homeless older adults with/at risk for dementia to adjust the housing needs of at-risk clients.

Debbie Lane, assisted living manager/social service coordinator at Westminster Village, will take an activities-based approach to educating staff to better engage with residents living with dementia, thus enhancing a more dementia-friendly community.

Jessica Major, club director at Oakwood Creative Care, will grow her skills as a trainer to bring innovative activities to engage persons living with dementia beyond the day club. She also will help develop a new engagement program to be tested at the site.


Fellows in our Community

Nydia Montijo, community outreach coordinator at the Foundation for Senior Living, will focus on workforce development and volunteer training to ensure the organization adopts dementia-friendly solutions.

Marisa Peoples, nurse practitioner at Barrow Neurological Institute, will focus on enhancing access to community-based programs and resources for persons with dementia and family caregivers.

Veda Rohr, emergency medical services coordinator at the Mesa Fire and Medical Department, will identify and implement training to enhance the knowledge and skills of first responders working with clients with dementia in their homes, residential settings and greater community. She will employ these same strategies to expand education to the community.

Zach Shaw, chief operating office at Affordable Home Care Solutions, will develop a synergistic program to meet the needs of the family caregiver through the informed efforts of the professional caregiver through support, care and education.

Janice Swanner, operations director at North Scottsdale Retreat, will compare the use of a computer-based model of activities to train caregivers to engage persons with dementia versus a traditional method of activities used in residential settings.


2019 Dementia Care Fellowship change projects, accomplishments

Jan Dougherty
Hospice of the Valley Dementia Program Director
“Once again, the fellowship really seems to motivate folks for change,
and I love that they move out of their comfort zones and get to know
other people in other fields.”

Sarah Anderson, occupational therapist and instructor at Midwestern University, created and implemented a program focused on sensory processing and modulation for self-regulation related to dementia caregivers. She also worked with 2018 HOV Dementia Fellow Tamara Turner to revise the curriculum for occupational therapy students at Midwestern to create a more positive experience in working with older adults and those with dementia.

Michelle Bales, HOV social worker, and Cheryl Haynes, HOV nurse, created a sensory engagement program for residents with moderate to advanced dementia in residential settings. They also facilitated dementia education to each of our Residential Care Teams, incorporating new training methods using the Dementia Moments and Positive Approach strategies.          

Dana Cardenas, nurse and emergency medical service coordinator, and Megan Hanks, volunteer coordinator with the Tempe Police Department, brought the virtual dementia tour and dementia friends training to all Tempe fire and police personnel and will utilize the Dementia Moments training program to ensure all new hires receive dementia training. Megan also purchased and is implementing a new device for those at risk for wandering. “Project Lifesaver” will utilize Tempe police volunteers to change out the bracelets and stay connected to caregivers.

Mary deGuzman, social worker at HOV, worked with her peers in the West office to better identify and manage grief and loss in family caregivers.

Mary Hardiman, CNA at HOV’s Sherman Home, outlined ways to recognize dementia-related behaviors. She mentored change in both fellow CNAs and RNs as she demonstrated strategies to minimize distressed behaviors. 

Aimee Hueber, After Hours nurse with HOV, focused on cultural considerations of persons with dementia and family caregivers. She educated After Hours teams on culture and behavioral considerations.

Laura Macaveiu and Kevin Malina, clinical pharmacists with HonorHealth Thompson Peak, worked within a team to create a set of geriatric admission orders to minimize unnecessary medication. They are completing a handout for patients to minimize medication errors upon discharge. Laura also created the medication script and handout for the third Phoenix Fire Department training video in collaboration with fire Capt. Benjamin Santillan.

Kathleen Outcalt and Jaclyn Robinson are third-year family medicine residents at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Kathleen taught physicians how to navigate difficult discussions related to dementia through advance directives. Jaclyn taught residents the importance of reducing the number of medications physicians prescribe for dementia patients.

Benjamin Santillan, a captain with the Phoenix Fire Department, finalized three videos that will be used to teach members of the fire team how to respond to some of the most common scenarios encountered in the field related to dementia. He also will be utilizing the Dementia Moments to educate all fire members to become dementia-capable in 2020.

AJ Thomas, principal at Corgan, worked with a team of architects to create dementia-friendly environmental guidelines for healthcare facilities, including ambulatory, inpatient and long-term care facilities.

Above image: Hospice of the Valley and the Phoenix Fire Department collaborated on three training videos designed to help first responders assist dementia patients who are in distress. They used actors to simulate real-life scenarios like this one: A woman with dementia (portrayed by Dr. Gill Hamilton) with dementia is injured and lost on a grocery store parking lot.