Advocacy & Support for People Living Alone with Dementia

Mission Hospital Visiting Policies

In early 2020, DFWNC spearheaded an effort to persuade Mission Hospital to change its Covid visitor restrictions. When admitted to the hospital, people with dementia are easily frightened, as they are confused by the light, noise and unfamiliar surroundings.  Frequently, they are unable to follow directions or cooperate with strangers.  They are often able to be calmed, soothed, and guided by a companion to assist staff in providing the best possible care.  For the first year of the Covid pandemic, people with dementia were admitted alone.  Due to our efforts and with the support of several other organizations, Mission Hospital changed its policy to allow persons living with dementia to be accompanied by a properly screened family member or caregiver when admitted.

Regional Hospital Admission Policies 

In 2021, DFWNC was asked by MemoryCare to survey hospitals in our region to determine which admitted persons with dementia who were having serious behavioral issues.  Many psych units were refusing to admit people living with dementia who exhibited difficult behaviors. Ten hospitals were surveyed. The survey asked about the admission process, the presence of a psych vs. geri-psych unit, who assessed patients, and dementia-specific training of hospital staff. 

Local Resources for People Living Alone with Dementia 

In 2020 and 2021, Kathey Avery, RN, steering team member, and Executive Director of the Institute for Preventive Health and Advocacy helped several individuals living alone with dementia access the care and support they needed. Her first step was seeking medical care and a diagnosis of dementia for each individual.

Impact Grant 

DFWNC and Council on Aging Buncombe County were awarded an Impact Grant.  This project is addressing three key challenges facing older citizens in WNC, including persons living with dementia and other cognitive impairments and their care partners: 

  1. Knowledge deficit in WNC regarding dementia friendly capabilities
  2. Elevated risk of abuse/neglect/exploitation 
  3. Inability to identify available services.   

If you have an issue that you feel our community needs to address, please contact us.