More from Al’s interview on his book: “Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care”
Q: For many care providers, changing from the institutional model of care to the experiential model can seem overwhelming and even impossible. What can they do to begin the transformation?
A: The book gives many tips than can be applied immediately to enrich the lives of those who live with dementia. For the deeper operational aspects of transformation, there is a section that explains the basic steps to de-institutionalizing care environments. There is also a resource list of
organizations that can provide further detailed guidance, such as the Eden Alternative and the Pioneer Network.
Q: Can we really provide drug-free dementia care? How?
A: Organizations who seriously undertake this model of care will see immediate reductions in their use of medication. However, because a deeper transformation is a slow, organic process, much work must be done before all sedating medication can conceivably be eliminated. There are, however,
organizations that have moved far down this path, where psychotropic medications have become the rare exception rather than the rule.
We’ve had a similar learning curve with eliminating physical restraints in nursing homes. I personally have not ordered a physical restraint in over a decade. I believe that, through this transformational process, antipsychotic drugs can become the “restraints of the 21st century.”