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’Best Friends’ alters Alzheimer’s patient care

The Oregonian, February 6, 2008
For those afflicted with dementia, whether through Alzheimer's disease or other underlying cause, the presence of a "best friend" can make a huge difference in continued quality of life. Avamere Health Services in Oregon has adopted the 'Best Friends' program to encourage Avamere staff members to be patient advocates and caregivers. Staff receive six hours training based upon the methodology of Alzheimer's care developed in the 1990s by David Troxel and Virginia Bell. Caregivers learn to familiarize themselves with the life stories of these patient-partners, to respect and indulge their preferences and encourage remaining capabilities, no matter how limited. The approach leads to fewer conflicts, and residents, in turn, feel safe and valued.