Dementia Care

2018 AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention

DC-4 - The Dementia-Focused Survey: Quality Initiative Goals and Regulations

Tuesday, October 9
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
CE: NAB: 1.5 | Nurses 1.5

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented the Dementia-Focused Survey recommendations that are now in effect in various states. The initiatives for long term/dementia care training and person-centered care are a key focus for quality initiatives as well as regulations. The expectations for staff training and individualized care will have a significant impact on dementia care programs now and in the future. A stable, informed staff is critical to both memory/dementia care programs and person-centered care. Regulatory initiatives have expectations like never before, requiring staff to be knowledgeable about both the disease and the individual. Staff must know who the individual was and currently is, his or her family history, food preferences, what activities are meaningful, behavioral triggers, and specific behavioral and environmental strategies, to name a few, and they must document it all. Systems and processes must be in place not only to stabilize staff, but to gather and communicate the information required and what is actually “best practice” in person-centered memory care. It takes an organizational approach to be in compliance and to deliver consistent superior care. This session will share 25 years of experience implementing a person-centered, memory care organizational model, including implementation of programs involving staff, resident, and family satisfaction; education and training; scheduled communication sessions; systems and processes for new admissions; resident outcomes; and survey results. All items measured over time will be shared. Outcomes include low antipsychotic use and alternative interventions; hospitalization rate of < 3 percent and readmission rate of < 1 percent; staff retention rate of 93 percent; and customer satisfaction rate of 94 percent. Model replication data will also be addressed.

Learning Objectives:

Susan D. Gilster, PhD, RN, LNHA

Executive Director
The Gilster Group

Dr. Susan Gilster is a leader and pioneer in creating innovative health care projects. She was responsible for the creation of the Alois Alzheimer Center, which opened in 1987 as the first dedicated dementia facility in the United States and a nationally recognized model in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. For 25 years, she led the Alois team in developing internationally recognized innovative practices and programs for individuals with dementia as well as their families. Dr. Gilster established The Gilster Group in 2012, a multidisciplinary group of experts in memory loss and dementia who Consult with organizations around the country. Susan is passionate about improving the lives of individuals and families and has spent the past 30 years providing education and training, as well as creating sustainable systems and processes to enhance care. Working hand in hand with the workforce, Susan has developed programs that have reduced staff turnover and enhanced staff, resident and family satisfaction in acute and long-term care.
Dr. Gilster was one of 27 experts invited by the Alzheimer’s Association to update and develop the 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, presented to policymakers and the dementia care community during a Capitol Hill event in 2018. The recommendations were published as a supplement to the The Gerontologist. Dr. Gilster led the development of the best practice recommendations for creating a person-centered dementia capable long-term care workforce.
Dr. Gilster serves on the Ohio Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The task force is focused on the creation of a State-Wide Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Strategy. The Task Force will be offering legislative and funding options to best support individuals and families in the state.
Serving as an educator, researcher, practitioner and consultant, Dr. Gilster has shared this information in published articles and presented and consulted nationally and internationally. Engagements focus Alzheimer’s disease and dementia program development, leadership, organizational and cultural transformation, and employee satisfaction and retention. Guided by her person-directed, service-driven philosophy, Dr. Gilster developed a successful, transformational leadership model promoting person-centered care for residents, families and staff. Dr. Gilster published her innovative models in two books: “Changing Culture, Changing Care: SERVICE First,” and “A Way of Life: Developing an Exemplary Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Program.”


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Jennifer Dalessandro, BSHSA

The Gilster Group

Jennifer Dalessandro has served as an educator, researcher, writer and innovator in dementia and long-term care. She served as the Assistant Administrator and research coordinator of the Alois Alzheimer Center for over 23 years. Jennifer aggressively pursued and supported a person-centered model that is service-driven for residents, their families and staff. Her commitment to service resulted in very positive satisfaction surveys from residents, families and staff for several years.
In addition, through many international and national presentations and publications, Jennifer has shared her knowledge about leadership, staff satisfaction and retention, and continuum-based Alzheimer’s care in a thought-provoking manner. She continues to write, collaborate and coordinate publications in an effort to share information with health care professionals and the community through consultation, columns and online blogs.
Jennifer was the project coordinator for several research initiatives on the care and treatment of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, including double-blind, placebo, titrated dose, experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug trials, resulting in positive research subject recruitment and generating positive outcomes and pharmaceutical company accolades.


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Anna Fisher, DHA, CDP

Director-Quality & Education
Hillcrest Health Services

Dr. Anna Fisher serves as the Hillcrest Health Services health, quality, dementia, and nursing services education expert. Dr. Fisher is responsible for the implementation of educational and quality improvement programs following the identification of clinical needs, competency exams, and supporting the need for high quality of care for diverse business lines that include assisted living, memory support, adult day services, in-patient rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, home health care, private duty, telehealth, palliative, hospice, and skilled nursing care.

Dr. Fisher is also an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bellevue University and teaches in the Masters-Health Administration Program. She was awarded the prestigious Maenner Award for Professorship of the Year in 2012.

Dr. Fisher is co-producer of the award-winning NET Television program series, Now What?, about elder care and dementia. The program series has received the 2012 Bronze Award and 2014 Silver Award of Excellence from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association under the category of Service to Community.

Dr. Fisher is currently President of the Consortium of Dementia Alternatives and Vice President of The Roberts Academy - Montessori High School. She is a Clinical Practice Committee Member, Quality Award Senior Examiner, and Dementia Friendly Designation Workgroup Member for the American Health Care Association (AHCA). She is also a Member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee for the AHCA/National Center for Assisted Living and a member of the National Quality Forum (NQF) Advanced Illness Care Action Team. Dr. Fisher is a certified dementia practitioner, licensed nurse, and holds an undergraduate degree in human resources, graduate degree in business management, and a doctorate in health administration.


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DC-4 - The Dementia-Focused Survey: Quality Initiative Goals and Regulations

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