Being a Dementia Care Provider of Choice

Laurie Renzulli
Updated May 2, 2024
Key Takeaways

Demand for dementia care providers in the home setting is expected to increase sharply in the coming years. Home care providers can stand out in this rapidly expanding market by delivering dementia-specific person-centered care, and by supporting their caregivers so they may deliver this specialized care.

Contents

Dementia-specific intake process and progress tools 

Helping families understand what home care is 

A person-centered care environment 

Serving as eyes and ears for care partners 

Introducing dementia-friendly tools and strategies 

Keeping staff current 

Attracting person-centered caregivers 

Person-centered care = quality dementia care 

 Older Woman Embraced by Caretaker over Croissants

 

Among the many compelling reasons to offer person-centered care is one that affects the more than 7 million Americans living with dementia today1 and their families: It is regarded by dementia experts as the core of quality dementia care.2 Person-centered care is in fact the underlying philosophy of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dementia Care Practice Recommendations

Perhaps even more compelling is the fact that demand for person-centered dementia care is only going to grow. As the general population ages, the number of people diagnosed with dementia is expected to rise while the number of unpaid caregivers available to care for them, such as family members, is expected to fall.3,4  

This trend will place an incredible demand on home care to fill the gap. It’s estimated that between 2020 and 2030, 1.2 million additional direct care workers, such as personal care aides, will be needed for dementia care — more new workers than in any other single occupation in the United States.5  

Delivering dementia-specific person-centered home care can help you stand out in this rapidly expanding market while also helping to attract caregivers eager for this type of training. Not all dementia care is person-centered, and not all providers of dementia care are created equal. The following practices can distinguish you as a dementia care provider of choice: 

Your intake process and onsite progress tools are dementia specific

For example, during an initial assessment, you ask whether the client has a dementia diagnosis or is merely presenting with dementia-like symptoms, as that will affect the care plan and how you interact with the clinical team. With assessment and care planning tools that are research-based, you ensure that the person with dementia will be treated as a unique individual by capturing and measuring criteria that matter to the client and their care circle. 

You help families understand home care vs. home health care

You explain how your non-medical care, led by person-centered trained professionals, will help clients maintain their dignity completing activities of daily living (ADLs), something that becomes more challenging as dementia progresses. You reinforce the vital role home care services play and how your level of quality is well worth the cost — a great value, in fact.

You help ensure a person-centered care environment

You involve the client and their care circle in creating a plan of care and keep them informed of any changes to the plan. You make sure any backup caregivers are fully briefed or pre-introduced to the client to encourage personal connection. You help clients and their care circles plan for transitions to other settings.

You honor cultural preferences

You factor in cultural preferences when matching caregiver to client, for example, whether the caregiver can communicate in the client’s preferred language. How intentional you are about these and other key cultural drivers of a caregiver assignment can be a huge differentiator. 

Your agency serves as eyes and ears for care partners

Caregivers who see dementia clients regularly can be the first to notice changes in behavior and function. As a dementia care provider of choice, you report these changes to a client’s clinical care providers, allowing better coordinated care. Not only does this level of coordination help to reduce the risk of emergency department visits and avoidable hospitalizations,6,7 it can also build your referral base among the clinical teams in the community who appreciate the partnership.

You introduce dementia-friendly tools and strategies

Examples include posting a large-print calendar by the client’s bed that clearly marks the day of the week, or keeping a journal in a central location to record anything noteworthy, such as a funny moment or a change to the dinner menu, to keep everyone in sync. Tools such as these help coordinate care while also advertising your agency’s person-centered difference.

Your staff stays current with dementia-specific person-centered care training

Your caregivers receive ongoing training in dementia care, such as for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dementia Care Practice Recommendations. This is in addition to any person-centered care-specific training, such as the training offered through the CareScout Quality Academy to providers in the CareScout Quality Network.

You attract person-centered caregivers

By delivering quality care, your caregivers are sharing with families the level of training you provide and other ways you support them: flexible scheduling that acknowledges employees have lives outside of work, assigning caregivers to client locations that factor in their transportation needs, and staff development programs. Being an employer of choice by following these practices can also support your goal of being a dementia care provider of choice.  

Person-centered care = quality dementia care 

It’s likely that individuals and families who check out resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association or CareScout’s own Guide to Dementia Care will learn about the desirability of person-centered care for their loved one. Now is the time to highlight your organization’s dementia-specific person-centered care practices and well-trained staff that can meet the demand. That demand is sure to rise, and by making your difference visible, your chances for success should rise, too. 

Raise Your Dementia Care Profile 

CareScout can help your organization raise its visibility as a provider of person-centered dementia care. Learn about joining the CareScout Quality Network.

Sources

1 Population Reference Bureau. Fact Sheet: U.S. Dementia Trends. https://www.prb.org/resources/fact-sheet-u-s-dementia-trends/.

2 Alzheimer’s Association. Dementia care practice recommendations. Available at https://www.alz.org/professionals/professional-providers/dementia_care_practice_recommendations.

3 Gilster SD, Boltz M, Dalessandro JL. Long-term care workforce issues: practice principles for quality dementia care. Gerontologist, 2018, Vol. 58, No. S1, S103–S113 doi:10.1093/geront/gnx174, S104.

4 Alzheimer’s Association. 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts And Figures. Available at https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf.

5 Alzheimer’s Association. 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts And Figures. Available at https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf.

6 Shepherd H, Livingston G, Chan J, Sommerlad A. Hospitalisation rates and predictors in people with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med 2019;17(1):1-13.

7 LaMantia MA, Stump TE, Messina FC, Miller DK, Callahan CM. Emergency department use among older adults with dementia. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 2016;30(1):35-40.

Laurie Renzulli

Laurie RenzulliMBA

Laurie is a health care business development executive with a passion for identifying top quality providers and helping them differentiate in a complex post-acute market. She has helped businesses grow in both the ind

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