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Published on September 14, 2020

Donations Support Wayne UNC Commitment to Patients with Dementia

Busy sleeves are specialized cuffs with beads, ribbons, buttons and other objects a patient with dementia can play with to keep their hands busy. They also help patients keep their hands off medical devices and IVs used to deliver their care.

The relative of a teammate at Wayne UNC, Kimberly Mezza was eager to help in any way possible. She recently knitted 10 sleeves and donated them to the hospital.

Also, the Wayne Memorial Hospital Foundation has awarded a $3,000 grant to purchase items for busy boxes that will be located in the hospital’s clinical departments. These busy boxes will enhance services provided to those with dementia, delirium and cognitive impairment. Patients with dementia require additional interactions and benefit from distraction, recreation and comforting measures.

These donations are transforming the patient experience here at Wayne UNC, improving the quality and safety of the care. “We’re grateful to our community and our foundation for so generously providing for our patients and for our hospital,” said Kim Guillemette, Wayne UNC Clinical Educator and Supervisor.

Patient with a hand-made busy sleeve.

Patient with a hand-made busy sleeve covering an
intravenous catheter site.

Dementia-Friendly Hospital Initiative

By 2025 North Carolina could be home to 210,000 individuals aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s Dementia and related dementias (ADRD). Recognizing the challenges associated with caring for dementia patients, Wayne UNC is participating in a Dementia-Friendly Hospital Initiative, targeting the entire span of patient and family interactions occurring during hospitalization.

People with dementia are hospitalized more often, have longer stays, poorer outcomes and higher costs of care. They can also be more susceptible to falls, unintended injuries and adverse response to medication.

Recognizing the enormity of the issue, the state legislature convened a statewide Task Force led by the NC Institute of Medicine (NCIOM). The Task Force called for professional development around caring for persons with ADRD and recommended expanding the Dementia-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

In 2018 Wayne UNC joined the initiative, along with several UNC hospitals. This Duke Endowment-funded project brings comprehensive, hospital-wide training to Wayne UNC with a goal of improving care delivery and care experience for patients with ADRD and their caregivers.

Training Supports Quality and Safety

Dementia Sleeve

To become a Dementia-Friendly Hospital, Wayne UNC provided training for nearly 1,000 teammates interacting with dementia patients – from clinical staff to food service workers, security officers to administrators. The CARES® Dementia-Friendly Hospitals: Preventing Adverse Events Online Training and Certification Program is designed to improve quality and safety of care for patients with ADRD.

“Our participants have reported gains in confidence, skills and knowledge,” said Guillemette. “We saw similar results with the classroom-based skills training, which included over 800 hospital employees.”

The training is formatted as demonstration/return demonstration so teammates can practice skills for interacting with people with dementia.

Some of the other actions Wayne UNC has taken as part of the Dementia-Friendly Hospital Initiative have included integration of support staff for vulnerable patients; education addressing cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills; identification of cognitively impaired patients; and dementia-friendly services, including access to comforting and distracting activities such as busy sleeves and busy blankets.

“We strive to turn understanding into actions that are sensitive and supportive of patients with dementia and their caregivers,” said Guillemette.

Dementia impacts memory, communication and thinking, and our teammates are trained in best practices to meet their unique needs.

To learn more about how Wayne UNC is creating a dementia-friendly environment for patients with dementia and other cognitive diseases, check out this recent article in North Carolina Health News.

If you or your group would like to make or purchase items to donate to our Dementia-Friendly Hospital Initiative, please contact Manager of Volunteer Services Donna Archer at 919-731-6353 or

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