Hillcrest’s Dr. Anna Fisher Co-Authors Dementia Article in Scholarly Journal

Article Examines Montessori Method Used in Dementia Care and Offers Continuing Education Opportunity

One of Omaha’s own has been published in an impressive scholarly journal. Hillcrest Health Services’ Director of Education and Quality, Anna Fisher, Ph.D., co-authored anAnna Fisher, Hillcrest Health Services article titled “Best practices for engaging patients with dementia,” featured in the November issue of Nursing2014, one of the largest nursing journals in the world.

The article, co-authored with Jennifer Volland, vice president of program development at National Research Corporation in Lincoln, Neb., addresses the enormous responsibility and often emotional and financial burden of caring for those with dementia and examines how the Montessori Method can be used to engage patients and their family members to provide better care.

“The article offers a comprehensive overview of Montessori method techniques used in both acute and postacute settings,” said Dr. Fisher, “and offers advice and examples of best practices to nurses and caregivers, who are the ones providing daily support to those with cognitive impairments.”

The Montessori method, most recognized as an individualized learning environment for children, “has been adapted to help engage adults with dementia by stimulating the mind with activities that use fine motor skills and build self-esteem,” as reported in the article.

The article also references the Montessori intergenerational program entering its fourth year at Hillcrest Mable Rose assisted living in Bellevue, Neb., where students in grades 7 to 12 from the Montessori International School of the Plains in Omaha coach and engage residents using Montessori activities.

“The emphasis is on encouraging the dementia resident or patient, not analyzing the end-result,” said Dr. Fisher. “Residents are presented with options for a number of activities that utilize cognitive and functional learning, and our goal is to engage residents in an activity that appeals to them, such as completing a puzzle or playing a xylophone, that will stimulate their interest in learning and enable them to participate and interact.”

The article states, “These techniques help decrease the emotional burden on families by redirecting the patient into positive behavioral interactions…Creative activities can also inspire and motivate staff and family members to better understand the patient’s care needs.”

“Having our article published in such a prestigious journal is truly an honor,” Dr. Fisher said. “It presents a significant opportunity to educate our peers on a large scale about the role the Montessori method can play in providing the best possible care for those with dementia. This is certainly a personal mission of mine, and I look forward to the feedback we will receive from caregivers out in the field.”

Nurses and healthcare professionals can read the article and obtain one continuing education credit online by going to http://journals.lww.com/nursing/toc/2014/11000

Nursing2014, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, has a circulation of more than 150,000 worldwide.

A certified dementia practitioner, Dr. Fisher is the president of the Consortium of Dementia Alternatives, and is a subject matter expert in quality and nursing services education. An adjunct professor at Bellevue University, Dr. Fisher teaches in the Masters Health Administration program and was awarded the prestigious Maenner Award for Professorship in 2012. She is also co-producer of the award winning NET Television series “Now What?” focusing on elder care and dementia. Dr. Fisher holds an undergraduate degree in human resources, a graduate degree in business management, and a doctorate in health administration.

Hillcrest Health Services offers the region’s largest continuum of health services for aging adults, including independent and assisted living, in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation, long-term care, memory support, adult day services, certified skilled home health and private duty home care, palliative care, telehealth services, and hospice care. Hillcrest currently serves nearly 1,000 aging adults daily across nine counties in Nebraska and Iowa. For more information, visit www.hillcresthealth.com.