Awakenings is hard work. But any care team with desire and passion can adopt its approach, personalize it, improve lives, and help change America’s care culture for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Benefits of the Awakenings approach include:
- Better Lives: Quality of life improvements we’ve seen include increased alertness, mobility, and laughter, more restful sleep, fewer falls, enhanced verbal ability, singing, ability to exercise, and reductions or eliminations of erratic mood swings, hallucinations and outbursts. In a three-year period more than 1,000 antipsychotic medications have been reduced or eliminated among people in Ecumen’s care.
In 2010, Ecumen Awakenings was awarded a three-year $3 million performance-based grant from the State of Minnesota. Ecumen Awakenings exceeded state performance measures in the life quality of residents participating in Awakenings. Over the three years we and our physician partners reduced the use of antipsychotics among people without a diagnosis of psychosis by 97%.
- Adaptable to All Settings: Ecumen Awakenings is a philosophy and approach that relies on people, not setting. The Awakenings approach and care techniques can extend far beyond the nursing home into assisted living, rehabilitation settings and private homes. Each can help change America’s culture of care for people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
- Rewarding Employee Experience: Awakenings’ collaborative effort builds incredible teamwork. It involves team members from all areas in helping with observing, measuring, reporting and providing alternative care plan interventions. The Awakenings approach to care helps build empowerment, collaboration, and pride among care team members in making lives better. It is the “calling” of which the very best care professionals often speak of in describing their work.
- Medication Cost Savings: Awakenings reduces the use of medications. Medication reductions across Ecumen’s 15 nursing homes have generated $200,000 to $400,000 per month in savings to Ecumen’s Medicare and Medicaid drug purchasing.
- Increased Revenue: Awakenings results are rewarded by increased government reimbursement in Minnesota, where skilled nursing facilities receive increased reimbursement for qualifying restorative nursing programming. Ecumen Awakenings achieves a total yearly revenue increase of just over $240,000 per year (reimbursement levels vary by state).
- Beating National Benchmarks: The national average of antipsychotic use in nursing homes is 23.4% according to Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). Across Ecumen’s nursing homes, the average is 13%, with many in single digits. This includes nursing homes handling some of the most challenging behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
- Defining “Memory Care” for Consumers: “Memory care” is too often a generic term in the United States. Services are most often defined as “care, meals, shelter and activities.” But what do those words really mean as they relate to care and empowerment of people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias? The Awakenings approach brings definition to what memory care is and the important role it plays in making life better. It helps organizations distinguish themselves in their community and among stakeholders important to their success.