Elkhorn, NE: BUDDIES FOREVER Making Impact on Quality Life and Quality Care at Vetter Senior Living Communities

In the Fall of 2012 Vetter Senior Living communities heard the call to challenge ourselves to re-think how we provide dementia education. At that time the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care was beginning to roll out goals for reductions in the off-label use of anti-psychotics for residents with dementia. The American Health Care Association was also gearing up for supporting a journey towards higher quality in long-term care for its members.

Our organization was fortunate to begin a partnership with an incredible dementia expert and educator, Erin Bonitto, a sought-after speaker who has presented nationally and internationally. With Erin’s guidance and resources, our organization began our journey with her BUDDIES FOREVER Program. This program provides our communities with a guide on how to educate team members on Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that cause dementia, practical approach, communication, and engagement techniques for prevention of out of character responses (aka behavioral expressions), as well as problem-solving strategies for identification of non-pharmacological interventions for elders with dementia.

As the Lead BUDDIES Champion for Vetter, Cameo Rogers is proud to share some incredible successes with you:

*Since Fall of 2012 Vetter communities have had a 30.9 percent reduction in the use of anti-psychotics for
long-stay residents.

*Since Fall of 2012 Vetter communities have had a 36.9 percent reduction in behaviors affecting others.

Since the BUDDIES Program began in Fall of 2013 to the Summer of 2017 we have seen our organization’s Satisfaction Surveys for Employees show significant positive changes that are related to our BUDDIES FOREVER Training and Resources:

*44.4 percent increase in excellent score in quality of resident-related training

*35.7 percent increase in excellent score in quality of family-related training

*33.3 percent increase in excellent score for assistance with job stress

These numbers show the dedication and continued work of our talented and passionate BUDDIES FOREVER Coaches/Champions at our communities. Thank you for all the work of our talented BUDDIES Coaches/Champions in educating and supporting the growth and development of dementia communication skills in our team members.

At Vetter we are continuing to develop new educational modules and coaching resources to support the work of our Coaches/Champions.

Cameo Rogers, CTRS, CDP, CDCM, CADDCT, and Vetter BUDDIES Coach recently hosted Champion Training at the home office. Team members were taught how to use the BUDDIES FOREVER Program to develop their own skills and provided hands on coaching, tools, and techniques to aid in mentoring and coaching other team members. Champions receive binders of materials, videos, web resources, and ongoing support from our Home Office Interdisciplinary Team.

This has been an amazing culture changing quality journey thus far…our journey towards World Class Quality Dementia Care continues…

Excellence-We continually pursue opportunities to improve ourselves and the services we provide. We learn from our experiences, build on our successes, and make changes when changes are beneficial. We develop people’s strengths and remain committed to becoming the Best of the Best.

Submitted by Cameo Rogers, CTRS, CDP, CDCM, CADDCT, Life Enrichment Coordinator

Vetter Health Services, Elkhorn, Nebraska