PARK RIDGE, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new type of care that uses little to no pharmaceutical interventions is at Avantara Park Ridge, Compassionate Touch®. The goal of this program is to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients through touch with intention and compassion and hopefully, one day, take the place of psychotropic usage at skilled nursing facilities. Erin Levy, Administrator of Avantara Park Ridge, has seen a difference in her dementia patients. “When we are babies and children, we need a lot of touch. As we get older, we don’t really need it as much. Many people don’t know this, but as we age you need it more, yet we receive less”, says Levy.
Caregivers and families are struggling to adapt person-centered dementia care practices. Compassionate Touch® helps caregivers and healthcare providers with the techniques to achieve specific goals for mentally impaired patients. This program assists with support to reduce behavioral and psychological symptoms and helps create positive connections with elderly patients, staff and their family caregivers.
AGE-u-cate Training Institute is the only institute that offers certification in Compassionate Touch® through an intensive, full-day, one-on-one training course. Erin, Administrator, and Cathy, an Activities Director at Avantara, both are certified coaches. Avantara, a 154-bed facility, has a Memory Care Unit that offers a holistic approach to quality care and services for those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Avantara utilizes their team in coordination with the family members to best develop a plan of care for each individual so they can have the most comprehensive care plan to best support them for optimal care. Compassionate Touch® was an opportunity for Avantara to engage staff with the residents and provide a different type of care for the dementia patients.
At Avantara Park Ridge, activity aides and certified nursing assistants are being taught Compassionate Touch® as an additional therapy to offer patients on a daily basis. Levy explains that it will be integrated with the activity programs they are already offering. “I believe this therapy is essential for our CNAs to learn in case a resident may ask for it or if they need to train family members,” says Levy.
Sessions are 15 minutes and scheduled as needed per patient which typically run three to four times a week. How does Levy’s staff know Compassionate Touch® is right for the residents? “We take a look at their attention span,” says Levy. “You’ll know if they are not displaying a behavioral episode that can be sometimes associated with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.”
For families looking into placement for their loved one with Alzheimer’s, Avantara offers Compassionate Touch® therapy at no extra charge. The residents seem to enjoy the therapy. Since becoming a certified facility, Erin has noticed that her residents are calmer, there’s a reduction in residents yelling out and there’s an increase in the resident’s participation in activities.
For family members that are in a crisis and are noticing a difference in their parent, Compassionate Touch® can bring relaxation to them. “If you feel stressed, offer three minutes of touch to the person in need, you’ll feel better after!” says Levy. She goes on to say, “Sometimes family members feel helpless and that there is nothing they can do to help out their parents since they are not a nurse or doctor, but it does not take a lot of skills to have that connection with your family. Taking a few minutes for a therapy session will make a huge difference.”
Levy continues, “Compassionate Touch® brings together the world of medical technology with the human side of care. It’s the perfect combination to help folks receive attention and feel cared for through interaction.”