NADONA offers hot conference for education

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As usual, there was plenty to learn at this week’s annual conference of the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care (NADONA). The scorching mid-July Phoenix heat did not detract from the interesting educational sessions held at the Hyatt Regency downtown.

Particularly enlightening (to this reporter, at least) was a session held Sunday night on Alzheimer’s. Eric Tangalos, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and Geri Richards-Hall, a clinical nurse specialist, talked about the clinical stages of the disease and ways of coping with each one.

Among the most interesting takeaways was from Tangalos, who talked about a new distinction being drawn between Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s-dementia. Alzheimer’s disease means some kind of structural and brain abnormality. By comparison, Alzheimer’s-dementia indicates clinical problems that are affecting cognition, function and behavior. The terms differentiate the disease from the clinical manifestation. In other words, you can have the disease but not dementia. Distinguishing between the two allows people to talk about the illness in a broader way, Tangalos explained.

Another stimulating session was held Monday on the subject of urinary incontinence. Diane Smith, senior vice president of Silvercare Solutions, hit home the importance of fully, and physically, examining a resident to determine the reason for his or her incontinence. Too often, residents are dismissed as incurably incontinent when there are physical problems standing in the way. She discussed through anecdotes how helping a resident regain continence can vastly improve a resident’s sense of well-being and quality of life.

There were other memorable speakers and moments at the conference. It must be said that the feeling of Phoenix in July is truly unforgettable. I love warm weather, but 112 degrees? Thanks, but I’ll settle for Chicago at this time of year. Who ever thought I’d say that?

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.