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CareOne Dementia Care Specialist Receives McKnight’s Pinnacle Award

CareOne is delighted to share that Senior Dementia Care Specialist, Joan DiPaola, has been selected by the 2024 McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards as their Thought Leader award recipient.

McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards honors industry veterans who have set standards, driven change, and provided guidance and inspiration to peers. This program recognizes individuals across the senior care, skilled nursing, or home care sector at large.

With more than 20 years of experience in the fields of nursing and dementia care, Joan has earned a reputation as a champion of person-centered care. Since joining CareOne, she has taught frontline staff, physicians, and communities how to improve communication with those with dementia to foster connection, break down social barriers, and remove stigmas. She developed CareOne’s Food for Thought program, an educational initiative that teaches the language and the approaches to effectively communicate with those with dementia without pharmaceutical interventions.

Additionally, Joan organizes monthly virtual networking sessions for caregivers who have loved ones with dementia, enabling families to directly confide in Joan about their challenges while also connecting with other caregivers in similar situations. As a result of these networking sessions, many caregivers have formed long-lasting and therapeutic bonds with others navigating the same challenges.

Another initiative Joan developed is a monthly Spousal Elegant Dining program, enabling spouses and their partners with dementia to dine in a restaurant with other couples experiencing the same challenges. This includes working with dining staff in local restaurants and educating them on dementia – including best practices for communication as well as nuanced considerations like choosing the right table settings to facilitate the most comfortable and inclusive dining experience.

As an extension of this effort to give loved ones with dementia more freedom of choice and personal autonomy, Joan also introduced summer music concerts and other activities, empowering residents to choose how they spend their time.

Joan has also been integral to refining CareOne’s approach to care. She introduced monthly educational training sessions and continues to counsel staff on how to develop personalized care plans for every single patient at CareOne, including comprehensive hand-off notes, insights into patients’ life stories, and other important personal considerations.

We are grateful to Joan for continuing to raise the bar for dementia care. Congratulations, Joan, for receiving this exceptional recognition from McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards!