The Eden Alternative® Receives CMS Grant to Support South Carolina's Reduction of Antipsychotic Use

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South Carolina is one of five states that will benefit from national grant-funded dementia care training that puts the person first. The Eden Alternative has received exclusive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to deliver the training, which ultimately supports a major national effort to reduce antipsychotic medication use.

Shifting perceptions about dementia care is a crucial first step to changing the culture of care and moving away from dangerous overuse of antipsychotic drugs.

The Eden Alternative® is the sole recipient of a grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help reduce antipsychotic use in South Carolina and four other states. Funds will support the delivery of a unique educational package featuring Dementia Beyond Drugs, an Eden Alternative training facilitated by award-winning author and geriatrician Dr. Al Power. The goal of this 2-day educational experience is to shift the focus of dementia care from managing so-called “difficult behaviors” to, instead, identifying and responding to the unmet needs that are typically their underlying cause. Gone unchecked, unmet needs can lead to distress and the subsequent overuse of antipsychotic medications for those who live with dementia.

“In my nursing home work, family members would often tell me that their loved ones looked better than they had in months. They would often ask what pill I had prescribed to cause such an improvement,” says Dr. Power. “But it wasn’t a pill. It was because we had stopped the antipsychotic drug and found other ways of providing support.”

A recent report authored by The Eden Alternative revealed that training in person-directed dementia care shifts perceptions that support the reduction of antipsychotic use. The report marked the conclusion of a grant-funded Eden Alternative project in Oklahoma involving the delivery of Dementia Beyond Drugs. The project's evaluation process revealed that participants experienced an overall 9% shift toward person-directed perceptions of and approaches to, dementia care – nearly double the project’s proposed outcome of a 5% shift after two days of training. Findings showed that not only did participants make a significant move away from institutional ways of thinking about dementia care, but they also conveyed confidence in their ability to apply the non-pharmacological solutions that they learned.

“The impact of our training on the participants exceeded everyone’s expectations. This shows not only the effectiveness of the training, but also the need and desire for change. Shifting perceptions about dementia care is a crucial first step to changing the culture of care and moving away from dangerous overuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes across the country,” says Chris Perna, CEO of The Eden Alternative.

Sixty-five nursing homes in South Carolina will have the opportunity to choose between two distinct educational tracks. Track One of the project offers nine of the participating nursing homes the option to combine Dementia Beyond Drugs training with an online experience of the Care Partner Workshop (Dementia-Specific Focus), also developed by The Eden Alternative. This interactive, team-based training will engage family members, side-by-side with nursing home employees, to strengthen care partnerships and overall well-being on the team, as a way to collaboratively respond to the needs of those who live with dementia. Track Two of the project gives participants the option to register for Dementia Beyond Drugs training alone.

“While we are proud of the strides that South Carolina nursing homes have made so far regarding the reduction of antipsychotic medications, we want to continue to have a powerful impact on this issue. We are delighted that we are able to bring this opportunity to South Carolina, as we strive for better quality of life for individuals living with dementia,” said Vickie Moody, of LeadingAge South Carolina and the South Carolina Alliance for Culture Change.

Funded registration is now open for qualifying South Carolina nursing homes for both educational tracks of this new project. Click here to learn more or go to

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About The Eden Alternative
A leader in the culture change movement for the past 20 years, The Eden Alternative is an international, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that provides education and consultation for organizations across the entire continuum of care. As a person-directed care philosophy, it is dedicated to creating care environments that promote quality of life for Elders and those who support them as care partners. To learn more, go to

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1. Members of the media are invited to interview Chris Perna, CEO of The Eden Alternative or Dr. Al Power, award-winning geriatrician and author. Contact: The Eden Alternative, (607) 793-1448, lbeck(at)edenalt(dot)org to make arrangements.

2. Members of the media are also invited to cover the in-person training event associated with this grant-funded project, which is scheduled to take place in Columbia, South Carolina on January 21-22, 2016. Contact: The Eden Alternative, (615) 653-8433, education(at)edenalt(dot)org for more information.

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