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Western North Carolina Healthy Brain Initiative Creates Caregiver Emergency Packets

MORGANTON, NC–The Western North Carolina Healthy Brain Initiative, a group formed to educate the community on brain wellness and provide information on community resources for healthy aging, has created caregiver emergency packets (CEPs) that will serve as a visual cue for emergency personnel to let them know a resident has a cognitive impairment.

The emergency packets will operate like the Do Not Resuscitate or Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment forms used to notify emergency personnel of end-of-life wishes.

“The responding emergency personnel will go to the front or side of the refrigerator and retrieve the CEP previously filled out by the emergency caregiver,” says Charity Elliott, committee co-chair and life enrichment social worker at Grace Ridge.

“Emergency responders will contact the caregiver or alternate contact to come to the home so the person with dementia is not left alone or let them know the person must be taken out of the home,” Elliott continues. Training on how to use the CEPs will start soon in Burke and Catawba counties with rollout completed within the next six months.

Funded through the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation, the Healthy Brain Initiative is made up of family caregivers and care partners from Grace Ridge Retirement Community, Burke Senior Center, Catawba Regional Hospice, Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, ADAPT (Alzheimer Dementia Adult Professional Team), Supportive Solutions and Blue Ridge Community Action.  The committee has been working together to make a difference in the lives of patients and families who are struggling to cope with the journey of memory loss and brain function decline.