“Changing Things Up” Makes a Difference for Both Dementia Patient and Memory Care Coach

Angelic Health Blog - “Changing Things Up” Makes a Difference for Both Dementia Patient and Memory Care Coach

Angelic Health Memory Care Coach Christabel Smith and patient Frances Doddy have taught each other a few new things as they bond over a cross-stich project.

“You'll hear me say this again and again... not everything can be cured with a pill,” said Angelic Health Pennsylvania Director of Palliative Care Services Kate Phelan, MSN, CRNP, ACHPN, CEN. As an experienced Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Phelan has seen much success with Dementia patients with engagement through Angelic’s memory care program.

“I’ve been trying to get this patient out of bed for two years now,” said Phelan, "but Christabel accomplished in two visits."

"Sometimes with cognitive impairments we just need to change things up just a little so that the person living with Dementia can have success," said Smith.

Angelic Health Memory Care Coach Christabel Smith provides her expertise as certified dementia coach, working in conjunction with the palliative care team, to help support the individualized needs of a person affected by cognitive impairment.

“This is person-centered, person directed, purposeful engagement,” explained Smith.

“Often, patients struggle with depression, or motivation to get out of bed and participate. But not on certified dementia practitioner Christabel's watch!" remarked Phelan regarding her care of Frances Doddy, a resident of New Eastwood Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Easton PA. The facility is owned and operated by Marquis Health Consulting Services which is very supportive of the Angelic Health Memory Care Program.

Smith was able to tap into the something that this patient enjoys doing, and in sharing her passion with Christabel provided a sense of purpose, friendship, self-confidence, and meaning for Frances. “All those things contribute to the "happy hormones" and feel-good endorphins. No pills necessary,” said Smith.

However, the patient was not the only one who benefited from this encounter. As the two worked together on a cross-stitch project selected by Frances, she began to teach Christabel who soon felt inspired and wanted to learn a new hobby.

"I'm the person who goes-and-goes nonstop,” said Smith. “But it is this patient who is helping me to see the beauty in sitting and creating something with my hands. Instead of me doing the coaching, it is the coach being coached, mentored, and guided by the patient. In this moment two different people from different generations are working together to create something of beauty."

Frances has offered her words of wisdom to her memory coach. “Christabel is so wonderful and works so hard, I keep telling her that she needs to take some time off to stitch,” she said with a smile, adding that even though she knows Smith sees many patients, she makes her feel that she’s the most important one.