Monday, 1:00pm to 2:00pm
French River 1/2 Room

As the number of people diagnosed with dementia increases, so do the challenges to rural providers in meeting the needs of these individuals. The Dancing Sky Area Agency (DSAA) in northwest Minnesota has developed “EMS Responds: A Patient-Centered Approach to Emergency Care of Dementia Patients.” DSAA partnered with Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to provide training for rural EMS and First Responder programs on how to care for people with dementia during emergency situations. EMS personnel are guided through a dementia simulation exercise, strategies for adaptive communication, and a special pain assessment scale for advanced dementia patients. EMS providers have reported improved patient outcomes as a result of implementing these changes. This breakout will review how to develop partnerships with EMS and First Responders and the components of emergency care for dementia patients.

Connie Troska

Connie Troska, NREMT

Program Developer
Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging

Connie is a Program Developer for the Dancing Sky AA, providing information on services for seniors through training, presentations, and classes. She has also been an Emergency Medical Technician for 31 years with the Stephen Ambulance, and is the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director for the service. Through the years, she has gained her credentials as an EMS instructor, and is part of the Northwest Regional EMS Training Collaborative. She serves as a board member with Greater NWEMS.

Tom Vanderwal

Executive Director
Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services
Tom Vanderwal is the current Executive Director of Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Chief Financial Officer/Assistant Administrator at Wheaton Community Hospital. Tom is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, board member for West Central EMS, and an Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Flex Committee member. He is also an initial member of the EMS Regulatory Board Data Collection Workgroup, past member of the Minnesota Statewide Stroke Committee, and has been appointed to Minnesota Rural Health Advisory Committee. Tom is a federally certified incident command trainer who has provided over 140 multi-day Incident Command System (ICS) 300 and ICS 400 courses in Northern Minnesota.