Dementia & Palliative Education Network


Most direct dementia care costs are attributed to skilled nursing care and acute care encounters, many of which may be avoidable. Educational institutions, spearheaded by the UW SoN, are transforming curriculums to prepare students and practicing nurses to have dementia care knowledge and skills. The healthcare industry, especially the accountable care and LTC organizations, is also developing infrastructure for supporting dementia care nurse specialists. Still, they struggle because dementia care protocols are not broadly disseminated, and technology that can incorporate best practices into the workflow lags far behind the need.

We are developing a Dementia Digital Module (DDM) that will support the implementation of the dementia training curriculum and the optimization of RN workflow. This digital map will be integrated with dementia Quality Indicators and will contain assessments, decision support, and care tools, which will help accelerate the training of the nursing students and the work of the nurses across a variety of care settings. The use of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems is now mandated for all healthcare organizations and therefore makes them excellent tools used for documentation, communication, billing, and evaluating healthcare practices and practice change outcomes.  However, most EHR systems are not optimized for moving evidence-based nursing practices forward, supporting nursing workflow, establishing dementia diagnoses and plans of care, and capturing reimbursable outcomes of this care.

Both the educational institutions and the healthcare organizations will need to develop and utilize technology to rapidly prepare students and clinicians to implement new skills and competencies. A critical milestone is the development of a high-fidelity rapid prototype using published research, national guidelines, and ongoing user feedback. The design will be optimized for future integration into the UW Medical Center EHR (EPIC) and other industry EHR systems (e.g., Point-Click Care).  DDMTM will serve as a companion to the school’s existing dementia training curriculums for students and practicing nurses. This technology will also help to highlight the innovation of the UW SoN dementia training offerings that are currently being prepared for rapid national dissemination. DDMTM will increase the value of the training because it will guide trainees in using evidence-based assessments and practices. It will provide a platform for capturing and documenting how well nurses are applying dementia-related skills and competencies; and will serve as an evaluation tool that can help capture the return on investment.  The quality of dementia care is constantly evolving, this digital platform will allow best practice protocols and tools to evolve over time.