Mimi DeVinney Featured in McKnight’s Senior Living Column

“We knew the growing impact of dementia on our care operations was significant,” discussed Mimi DeVinney in her guest column for McKnight’s Senior Living.

“By 2050, the number of US adults over 40 living with dementia is projected to rise from 5.2 million people to 10.5 million.”

DeVinney is a dementia/quality of life specialist at St. John’s Home, said that rapidly growing predictions of dementia diagnoses in the future has prepared St. John’s Home to focus on a strategic business plan for the expected growth.

“We created an “Elders in Distress” team of clinical experts to work with individual residents and staff teams. Our goals were to reduce hospitalizations and transfers,” said Mimi.

For over 20 years DeVinney has worked with St. John’s Home in its dementia care program and has continued to be a vital and reliable source for St. John’s Online Dementia Resource Center. Over the years, Mimi says that she and her team have recognized “that older adults with mild to moderate dementia require a specialized rehabilitation experience to improve odds of returning home.”

“The environment is controlled to promote comfort and safety with minimal agitation-causing changes.”

In her guest column, DeVinney went into detail about St. John’s Home’s extensive efforts in dementia care, through “clinical excellence,” which includes a peer-to-peer dementia advocate training program.

Outside of strides in clinical efforts and achievements, St. John’s Home has made many organizational and program renovations to better suit the growing population of residents and guests living with dementia.

DeVinney wrote that renovations included an updated resource library to help family members and “new sensory centers for engagement, themed destination rooms with activities aimed at attracting residents with dementia, wall color and lighting fixture changes to increase visibility, common area artwork depicting familiar images, and a focus on comfort.”

“Initial outcomes from our first phase of changes indicated that we were making forward progress,” said DeVinney . She said St. John’s Home saw a “45% increase in family satisfaction, a three-fold decrease in the rate of high-risk behaviors among residents with dementia, and a 26% increase in elder dementia care confidence.”

St. John’s physical renovation and training phases to grow the dementia program have been joined with a virtual approach, the Online Dementia Resource Center, which Mimi touched upon in her article.

“Our web-based center was not bound by geography and has served more than 7,750 visitors from across the country with free information and tools since its launch in 2021.”

This online tool, DeVinney said, has proven to be useful to the public especially during the pandemic. Though, the needs of those with dementia and “the challenges of caregivers facing their disease progression already were on the radar at St. John’s,” said DeVinney .

In recent years, St. John’s has further focused its service offerings in its skilled care operations to better support people with dementia. Beyond Memory is a person-centered model offered within skilled care to address the needs of people with later stages of dementia.

DeVinney said that St. John’s Home is one of many facilities taking the imperative measures to ensure that all operational facets best serve the audience and its growing needs.

“Treatment is tailored to address cognitive and physical needs and includes a distress assessment by our dementia specialist and support for family caregivers, if needed.”

Read the full McKnight’s article here: Operational design for a dementia-focused future – Guest Columns – McKnight’s Senior Living (mcknightsseniorliving.com)

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