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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler Receives Grant to Advance Palliative Care for Residents with Dementia

May 09, 2018

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler has received an $84,000 grant from the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation to pursue Comfort Matters® accreditation and to expand and enhance palliative care practices for people living with dementia throughout the skilled nursing facility. At NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler, more than half of the residents at this 815-bed facility have a dementia diagnosis, including 155 living in one of three memory care units.

The new 18-month grant will allow NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler to build on its comfort approach to caring for people with dementia. Noteworthy progress to date has included reduced utilization of anti-psychotic medications, increased participation in the Music & Memory Program, fewer physical altercations, fewer falls, and fewer transfers to the hospital emergency department.

“While we have already earned a national reputation as a leader in the care of residents with dementia, we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Robert Hughes, chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler. “This new grant reflects our ongoing commitment to improve the quality of life for these residents, which is important not just to them, but also to their family members and friends who go through this journey with us.”

A project funded by the new grant will focus on improving the quality of life and care provided for residents diagnosed with advanced dementia. Instead of the more traditional medical model of care, the project will guide providers in applying a comfort-focused approach, modeled on the groundbreaking program developed by Beatitudes Campus, a nonprofit senior living community in Phoenix, Arizona. The Comfort Matters® accreditation is based on applying the Beatitudes approach.

In addition to alleviating suffering and providing comfort for people with advanced dementia and their families, the grant project has two other goals. It aims to enhance job satisfaction for staff by facilitating the adoption of advanced practices in palliative care, specifically targeted to the care of people with dementia living in residential care. It also aims to guide the most appropriate use of available resources and, as a result, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and ER use.

Working closely with Beatitudes throughout the grant period, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler staff involved in the project will focus on achieving Comfort Matters® accreditation for the Memory Care Team and expanding and enhancing care practices for patients with dementia on the existing three units and throughout NYC health + Hospitals/Coler. The Comfort Matters® accreditation process involves extensive teaching and monitoring (as well as the final accreditation assessment) by Comfort Matters® staff. In addition, a staff member at CaringKind, a New York non-profit focused on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, will provide ongoing support to NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler staff throughout the project.