Pilot project to improve dementia care, reduce stress for family caregivers
Dec. 14, 2015—Kendal Charitable Funds has awarded a $20,000 Promising Innovations grant to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, to fund a yearlong Caregiver Boot Camp program. The initiative will provide education, empowerment and support to unpaid family caregivers of elders who exhibit behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The grant will allow this pilot program to be offered at no cost to participants.
“With this grant, Saint Barnabas will launch an innovative approach to empowering caregivers to enhance the uncompensated care they provide to loved ones while reducing their own stress levels,” said Jim Dowell, chair of Kendal Charitable Funds, in announcing the award. “This project has the potential to be replicated in communities throughout New Jersey and across America.”
“We estimate that each ‘Boot Camp’ will be attended by 30 family caregivers, for an estimated total of 120 individuals who will be served during the one-year grant period,” said Dr. Theresa Redling, Medical Director of the Geriatric Health and Disease Management Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Dr. Redling and Dr. Gerald Tramontano will design and implement the Caregiver Boot Camp program. Dr. Tramontano is Medical Director of the NeuroCognitive Institute in Mt. Arlington, New Jersey.
Aggression, wandering, depression, agitation and sleep disturbances are typical BPSDs known to cause high levels of caregiver distress. The Boot Camp curriculum will present an overview of BPSD, explain how to recognize BPSD triggers and cover behavioral techniques—including environmental adaptations—to help reduce troubling symptoms of dementia.
“The Kendal Charitable Funds grant is critical to testing this new approach to reducing caregiver distress, particularly for families unable to afford private counseling,” Dr. Redling said. “This would not be possible without outside support.”
Caregiver stress and data about the behaviors of those being cared for will be collected before and after Boot Camp training. Reduction in BPSD frequency, duration or severity will be considered a “win,” and Boot Camp attendance and participant satisfaction will also be measured to rate program effectiveness. To increase the likelihood of successful outcomes, caregivers will be encouraged to attend as many Boot Camp sessions as they find useful to practice and modify their behavioral management techniques as their elder’s dementia progresses.
A panel of leading experts on aging selected Saint Barnabas’ proposal for funding from among 97 initial applicants and 12 finalists from across the nation. Promising Innovation grants provide seed money for the creation of new services that are in keeping with Kendal’s Values and Practices.
“Kendal’s pursuit of better ways to address the unmet needs of older adults, coupled with the generosity of the Janet Comey Foundation, Kendal residents, board members, staff and others outside Kendal, led to the creation of the Lloyd Lewis Promising Innovations grant program,” said Beverly Grove, Executive Director of Kendal Charitable Funds. “Promising Innovations grants provide an opportunity for greater collaboration among those of us who seek to improve the quality of life and care for all older people.”
About Kendal Charitable Funds
Kendal affiliates work together within the Kendal System and with caring people outside of it to transform our culture’s view of aging and of older persons, stressing the potential for fulfillment and continuing contribution during the later stages of life. Kendal Charitable Funds, established in 1989, raises and disburses funds in support of Kendal’s charitable purposes, including many outreach efforts. As a system of not-for-profit communities, programs and services founded on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Kendal aspires to transform the experience of aging.
In 2007, the Kendal Charitable Funds board approved the creation of the Lloyd Lewis Fund to support advances in serving older adults through the Promising Innovations campaign. The fund and campaign were made possible by a gift of $250,000 from the Janet Comey Foundation, a private foundation established through the estate of former Kendal at Longwood resident Janet Comey. Since then, the Promising Innovations campaign has raised over $500,000 in matching gifts, more than doubling the size of the Lloyd Lewis Fund.
About Saint Barnabas Medical Center
Founded in 1865, Saint Barnabas Medical Center is New Jersey’s oldest nonprofit, nonsectarian hospital. Saint Barnabas’ mission is to provide compassionate care, health care excellence and superior service. An array of primary and secondary health services are provided to racially and socio-economically diverse patients.
Saint Barnabas is a major teaching affiliate of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a major clinical campus for the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is affiliated with St. George’s University School of Medicine. The medical staff comprises more than 1,700 physicians and dentists representing approximately 100 specialties. Among Saint Barnabas’ many services is the Geriatric Health and Disease Management Program, which is representative of the hospital’s commitment to older adults.