Odyssey: Mini Med School: Caring for Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias

An eight-session program put together by the Integrace Institute at Copper Ridge (formerly known as the Copper Ridge Institute), a renowned dementia care community originally affiliated with JHU. The talks, by seven different specialists, will address the most urgent and pressing concerns associated with dementias, on the part of both the patients themselves and their families, friends, and loved ones. Please note: This course may also be taken as an elective in the Certificate on Aging Program and is approved for CEU's for Social Work and for Counselors and Therapists.

Program Coordinator: George L. Scheper, PhD, Director, Odyssey Program

Sept. 30 Introduction to Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
Ann Morrison, PhD, RN, Owner, Morrison and Associates, LLC

Neuropathological changes in the brain, often associated with aging, can bring about the diminishments in perception, reasoning, and functioning that entail the profound distresses experienced by patients with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, and by their families and friends. Understanding the relationship between these cognitive deficits and a patient's functional abilities can help care providers better understand and cope with the behavioral issues associated with dementias, and develop more effective solutions for care. Ann Morrison, a former faculty member of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, departments of Psychiatry and Neurology and of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, is a dynamic, lively, and informative speaker with an extensive background in geriatrics and dementia care.

Oct. 7 Language and Communication in Dementia
Matthew L. Cohen, PhD, Research Scientist, Center on Assessment Research and Translation, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware

In this talk on language and communication issues in dementia, Dr. Cohen describes the different kinds of language impairments that may occur in the context of dementia, and how to assess them. He will describe the neural underpinnings of these difficulties, and will present practical ways to cope with these language limitations. Dr. Cohen received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Florida, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Oct. 14 Managing the Symptoms of Dementia: Pharmacologic Approaches
Allan Anderson, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is vice president of Dementia Care Practice, Integrace

Behavioral symptoms in dementia become more manifest as patients enter into more severe stages of the disease. While non-pharmacologic strategies can help, and should be initially attempted, there are cases where pharmacologic approaches are more appropriate. While there has been a national strategy to reduce antipsychotic medications in long-term care, new research has been completed on alternative pharmacologic treatments. This presentation outlines a prudent approach to the use of psychotropic medications to manage the behaviors associated with dementia. Dr. Anderson served as president of AAGP (American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry) from 2011 to 2012, and in 2014 he received the AAGP's Clinician of the Year award. He lectures locally, regionally, and nationally on topics germane to geriatric psychiatry.

Oct. 21 Managing the Symptoms of Dementia: Non-Pharmacologic Approaches
Beth Galik, PhD, CRNP, Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Maryland

This session will focus on a framework for accurate assessment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Participants will learn how to apply principles of evidence-based practice to the non-pharmacologic management of the symptoms of dementia, including physical functionality, mood, and behavior. Dr. Galik is a nurse practitioner who specializes in the medical and neuropsychiatric care of older adults. She is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, where she teaches in the adult and geriatric nurse practitioner program, and she maintains a clinical practice in dementia symptom management at Copper Ridge, now Integrace, and at Sheppard Pratt.

Oct. 28 Understanding and Supporting the Family Caregiver
Ann Morrison, PhD, RN (see above)

This session will provide the learner with an overview of the transitional process from memory problem recognition to memory disorder diagnosis, from both the perspective of the patient and the perspective of the care partner. Dr. Morrison will present and explain strategies that support adjustment for the patient and care partner, as well as stage-specific interventions to deal with currently existing deficits of the patient, and preparation in dealing with later stage issues, including stage-specific tasks aimed at simplifying care and strengthening strategies for coping.

Nov. 4 Medical Needs of Persons with Dementia
Amanda Ruch, MS, AGPCNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner, Copper Ridge, now Integrace

This program will introduce the learner to the unique challenges of managing and treating the common medical concerns of older adults and especially of persons with dementia. Topics will include the importance of consistent medical care, detection of common medical conditions, including strategies for management and treatment, assessment and management of pain, recognizing and treating delirium, and optimizing quality of life in the long-term care setting. Amanda Ruch is a board-certified Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-BC). Prior to graduating from the nurse practitioner program at University of Maryland, she was director of nursing and assistant director of nursing, at Buckingham's Choice Retirement Community.

Nov. 11 End of Life Care for Persons with Dementia
Danielle Doberman, MD, Assistant Professor, Director of Palliative Medicine Program, Assistant Fellowship Director for Palliative Medicine, the George Washington University School of Medicine

For patients and their loved ones with dementia, the disease represents a series of challenging health care decisions. Knowing how to balance curative treatments against a patient whose body and mind are growing ever more fragile can become a struggle. This session will seek to define the concept of palliative medicine, and explore when is the "right time" to employ this concept in the care plan of a patient with dementia, including end of life care. Topics include differentiating between hospice and palliative care, determining hospice eligibility, and offering an update on insurance concerns and Medicare hospice benefit regulations. Emphasis is placed on determining care strategies, and on ethical considerations during end of life. Dr. Doberman completed medical school at George Washington University in Washington, DC; following a year as chief resident in Primary Care-based Internal Medicine, she completed George Washington's fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine fellowship in Geriatric Medicine. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Geriatrics, and is founder of the Palliative Medicine Program at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Nov. 18 Community Services for Persons with Dementia
Bonita Wilson, MA, LCSW-C, Director of Social Work, Copper Ridge, now Integrace

This talk will introduce various avenues available for resources for people with dementia and for their families, including a deeper look at levels of resources, federal, state, and local. Emphasis is placed on ways to empower the person with dementia and their responsible parties and concludes with case study discussions of how to connect clients with appropriate resources. Bonita Wilson obtained her master's degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and has since worked in a variety of clinical settings, and as a therapist for individuals, families, and couples. She has worked at Copper Ridge, now Integrace, for 12 years, first as comprehensive care social worker, and currently as director of Social Work and the Assisted Living social worker.

914.569.01 Homewood Campus
Wednesdays, Sept. 30 to Nov. 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $186

JHU full-time faculty/staff are eligible for 80 percent tuition remission. Spouse/same-sex domestic partners are eligible for 50 percent remission. You will be unable to register online and receive the discount. For more information, contact 410-516-8516.