Dr. Sanjay Asthana speaks at ceremony honoring the Madison VA as the first Dementia Friendly VA Hospital

The Madison VA is already a leader in geriatric care, as it is one of only 20 Veterans Administration hospitals that supports a Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). However, on Monday, November 27, the hospital took its leadership in geriatric care one step further, as the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital was recognized as the first VA in the country to achieve “Dementia Friendly Hospital” Status. In order to become a Dementia Friendly Hospital, it took a hospital-wide effort, including planning for approximately 20 months, additional training for staff and volunteers, signage changes in order to make it easier to navigate the hospital, and community collaboration with Dane County and local businesses and organizations.

Dr. Sanjay Asthana, medical director of the Madison VA GRECC and director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, spoke at the formal ceremony recognizing the hospital, saying, “We know from years of work that care of patients is not just diagnosing them and giving them some guidance about how to manage their disease, but actually to make the whole environment friendly so that their care can be enhanced.” 

In order to make the environment of the hospital friendlier, in addition to the signage changes, the art on the walls will correspond to the name of the clinic. This will make it easier for patients to navigate and will reinforce the new names, these being the Lake Clinic, Bluffs Clinic, Cabin Clinic, Lighthouse Clinic, Forest Clinic, Field Clinic, River Clinic, Heart Clinic, Star Elevators, and Eagle Elevators. Each area will have photographs of nature from Wisconsin and northern Illinois to help with the change.

Read more about the VA hospital becoming dementia friendly here.

Photo courtesy of the Madison VA Hospital.