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HealthCare Interactive, Inc.
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Minneapolis, MN 55426
(952) 928-7722

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CARES Dementia Friendly Hospitals Training Program Launched in North Carolina

Last year, Governor Cooper proclaimed Sept. 26, 2019, as Dementia Friendly Hospitals Day in North Carolina. UNC Health Care was the first hospital system in the state to implement a special dementia friendly training for staff at multiple hospitals. The program is now available nationally for hospitals and medical centers is all settings.

Dr. Jan Busby-Whitehead speaking at Dementia Friendly Hospitals Day event at UNC Hospitals Hillsborouth Campus. Photo Credit: Tom Fuldner Photography

Contact: Mike Jones,, (602) 284-2831 

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The first phase of the Dementia Friendly Hospital Initiative has been successfully implemented at four UNC Hospitals, including its Hillsborough Campus, where officials and hospital leaders gathered to discuss the importance of the training.

Joyce Massey-Smith, Director of North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, told event attendees, “I can tell you the profound sadness I experienced watching my 93-year-old mother being talked over, ignored, and treated poorly in health care settings. I’ve seen some really inappropriate things done by kind-hearted people because they just didn’t have this kind of specialized training.”

The Dementia Friendly Hospital Initiative makes use of an innovative, video-based training program called the CARES® Dementia-Friendly Hospitals online training program to train 100 percent of staff who could interact with patients suffering from a form of dementia. There are around 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia, and that number is expected to grow to 16 million within the next 30 years. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, so the best current treatment is exceptional care.

John Hobday, CEO of HealthCare Interactive, the Minneapolis-based edtech producers of the CARES Dementia-Friendly Hospitals online training program said, “One thing we know does not work in the care of people living with dementia is speed. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia lose the ablity to say things like, ‘I’m scared,’ or ‘That is hurting me,’ or ‘I don’t know who you are.’ Instead, what often happens is the person will yell, scream, hit, or even bite the very caregiver trying to help them. This issue is especially difficult to address in hospitals and medical centers where care is provided at lightning speed. The CARES program teaches staff a different way to provide care to hospital patients with dementia with a 5-step process. Real-life videos vignettes help staff see the difference in care that can result with the use of this process vs. more common ways of providing care.”

Hillsborough, NC Mayor Tom Stevens said, “Everyone has their stories because many of us have friends or loved ones with dementia. Some of them require around the clock care and others are in the very early stages. Having this extra sense of how to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias really makes a difference in our whole community.”

The CARES program is now available nationwide to hospitals and medical centers in all settings: large urban and suburban settings, mid-sized cities, and even small, rural settings and critical access hospitals. The program is affordable and available from any Internet connected computer, tablet, or smart phone.

“People with dementia don’t behave the way you’d expect in the hospital setting,” said Jan Busby-Whitehead, MD, chief of the division of geriatric medicine in the department of medicine, and director of the UNC Center for Aging and Health. “Hospitalizations are traumatic for them and challenging for caregivers and families. Our goal with CARES is to provide special care for our patients with dementia.”

The Division of Geriatric Medicine and Center for Aging and Health in the UNC School of Medicine created the Dementia Friendly Hospital Initiative to improve care for the growing number of patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and meet goals outlined by the NC General Assembly’s 2016 Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias.

Michael Jones
Jones Communications
(602) 284-2831