Celebrating nurses who care for people, families and communities living with dementia

By: UW DPEN Team

Dementia is a relentless disease that takes an inevitable toll on not only the 120,000 people in the state who are afflicted but also on the equal or greater number of family members who are their unsalaried caregivers and the nurses and other healthcare professionals who also provide care.

The UW School of Nursing is deeply invested in research, education and action directed at improving the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers. Among the School of Nursing’s initiatives are the transformational Dementia Palliative Education Network (DPEN) initiative and the Queen Silvia Nursing Award.

The goal of DPEN is to transform dementia education for registered nurses, beginning pre-licensure and continuing through the full trajectory of their professional development. The intent is to create an innovative, collaborative and meaningfully different educational model with an emphasis on outpatient care and interprofessional education. 

The UW DPEN team is led by Dr. Tatiana Sadak, who understands that the responsibility for supporting people living with dementia and their families, who are providing complex care at home, lies with healthcare providers. 

DPEN expects to:

  • Collaborate with the Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter and WA Dementia Action Collaborative to update and broadly disseminate a program for family/friend care partners that offers coaching on how to partner with their care recipient’s healthcare providers 
  • Assemble a team of top local and global dementia clinicians, educators and leaders to consult on content development and teach portions of the curriculum that educate nurses on providing optimal dementia care and partnering with family and/or friend care partners
  • Prepare every UW School of Nursing student to have a foundational knowledge of dementia care
  • Develop and launch a certification program for UW School of Nursing students interested in developing more in-depth knowledge and clinical skills relating to the care of people living with dementia and their families
  • Launch a new undergraduate clinical placement program in partnership with local clinics and long-term care facilities to provide hands-on educational experiences with dementia care patients, and provide tuition support and stipends as an incentive for students to participate in a pilot program
  • Launch a new online dementia intensive continuing nursing education program for RNs and train hundreds of registered nurses who are already serving elderly patients and their families across the nation

More information about DPEN is available here

Queen Silvia Nursing Award (QSNA)
The QSNA honors the Swedish queen, whose mother suffered from dementia. The award is now offered in several countries and has garnered more than 3,300 ideas submitted by 2,100 participants. The UW School of Nursing was chosen as the first and only U.S. partner. The award recognizes registered nurses or undergraduate UW nursing students who present a project proposal focused on improving the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers. 

The QSNA is far more than a monetary scholarship of $6,500. The winning scholar collaborates with the UW School of Nursing dementia team in developing the proposed project. The QSNA is unparalleled recognition of a nurse whose career is expected to combine creativity, problem-solving and innovation to benefit dementia and aging patients everywhere.

Brooke Tamble

The inaugural U.S. winner is UW graduate Brooke Tamble, who will receive the honor early next year at the School of Nursing’s annual Soule Lecture. Tamble’s project, “Wait! I Remember!” is a software application for tablet computers that promises to increase patient engagement and reduce the fatigue of caregivers.

“Winning this award gives me the opportunity to partner with the University of Washington School of Nursing’s DPEN program,” said Tamble. “This program will provide much-needed education and resources for nurses and caregivers to improve the level of care we provide for our dementia patients. I know this program will be a huge benefit to our community and I look forward to continuing to be a part of it.”

The application window for the second cycle has now opened. Interested nurses can obtain further details and apply here. You can also nominate a nursing student or a registered nurse who graduated from UW. 

A lot has been done to try and ease the burden of dementia. A lot is being done. 

Yet, a lot more still needs to be done. At the UW School of Nursing, we are strongly committed to supporting the research and education that will result in better lives for people with dementia and those who care for them. 

The Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter is proud to be a media sponsor for the University of Washington Queen Silvia Nursing Award. Learn more here.

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