Protocols and practices at an Arizona nursing home that allows patients with Alzheimer’s disease freedom to eat and sleep when they want makes appears to make them happier and easier to care for, the New York Times reports. Beatitudes, a ministry of the Church of the Beatitude, has also done away with restraints. Each patient is cared for according to his/her individual needs.
Tena Alonzo said that patients are even allowed an alcoholic drink or chocolate if they want. She said, “Whatever your vice is, we’re your folks.” Although the staff objected initially to taking the patients to the bathroom instead of using diapers, they now find the new procedure is actually less time-consuming.
Beatitudes now has such a reputation that other Arizona nursing homes send doctors and staff members there for training. Several Illinois homes are also adopting its methods. Certain approaches to care giving can make life more pleasant for patients who continue to feel emotions like joy or sadness even if they have no memory of the experiences that caused those emotions believe experts.
National Alzheimer’s Project Act, just passed by Congress and expected to be signed by President Obama would put this plan firmly in place. The act would create an advisory council of representatives from all the federal agencies concerned with health, science and aging, and the council would devise a coordinated national plan to “accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s” and “improve the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and coordination of the care and treatment of citizens with Alzheimer’s.”