Ecumen, a long term care provider in Minnesota, recently completed one of the first ever trials to reduce psychotropic drug use among 10 patients. Not only was the program 100 percent successful in eliminating psychotropic drugs without adverse behavioral effects, but the patients all showed increased engagement and social interaction. Last week the AP filed this inspiring report:
Day after day, Hazel Eng sat on her couch, a blank stare on her face. The powerful antipsychotics she was taking often cloaked her in sedation. And when they didn’t, the 89-year-old lashed out at her nursing home’s aides with such anger and frequency her daughter wondered if her mother would be better off dead.
Until, in a matter of days, everything seemed to change.
Eng’s daughter, Jean Lynch, says her mother was moved to a different section of the Ecumen home in North Branch, Minn., and taken off every drug but her daily aspirin. She now beams as she ambles the hallways, reads the newspaper, tells stories and constantly laughs.
“Now I hope she lives till she’s 200 years old,” Lynch said. “She’s just so happy.”
Ecumen’s innovative “Awakenings” program has been in effective for three years and was supported by a grant from the state of Minnesota. At it’s core the program is about using person-centered approaches to dementia care that incorporate exercise, music, aromatherapy, pets, video games and other methods.
Don’t miss the full AP story posted on MSNBC.com.
Earlier this year we invited Ecumen’s Mick Finn to talk to Dr. Bill Thomas about what went into developing “Awakenings” and posted the conversation in a two-part video series: