In a recent Opinuendo column the St. Paul Pioneer Press highlighted Ecumen’s Excellence in Dementia Care Award, a national honor received last week in Washington, D.C. Here’s what the Pioneer Press wrote:
On stage with a legend
Two nurses from Ecumen, a Shoreview-based nonprofit senior housing and services provider, shared a stage this week in Washington, D.C., with music legend Glen Campbell and his family.
They received awards at an Alzheimer's-awareness event, the Great Minds Gala — Ecumen's Shelley Matthes and Maria Reyes for a program that uses nonpharmaceutical approaches to improve patients' quality of life, and the singer and his family for advocacy for continued research, education and support for those suffering with the disease.
Ecumen received the Excellence in Dementia Care Award from Ellen Proxmire, in honor of her late husband, Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire, who died of Alzheimer's, and LeadingAge, a national association of nonprofit senior services organizations.
Ecumen was honored for its "Awakenings" program, aimed at reducing or eliminating the use of anti-psychotic medications among people with Alzheimer's and related dementias.
The program used behavior modification and other alternative techniques to reduce the use of anti-psychotic drugs by 98 percent in 1,200 patients in 16 nursing homes, according to a Washington Post report, saving $200,000 to $350,000 a month in Medicare and Medicaid spending on the medications and making patients more alert and active.
Patients "just became more alive and more awake, and that's why we called it Awakenings," Matthes told the Post. "It's not stopping the disease's progress, but it's improving the quality of life for the person, and the quality of the family experience, as well."