Occupational Therapy Student Creates Program for Dementia-Friendly Care
As one of Touro University Nevada’s first students to graduate with an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD), Jonathan Legarte chose to pursue dementia as his capstone project.
“After speaking with my faculty advisors, we found out that there was a growing interest in dementia programs,” he said.
Legarte partnered with Encompass Health Rehab Hospital in Henderson to create “All-Care Dementia”: an evidence-based program for dementia-friendly care.
“This program is a four-hour course that goes over dementia-friendly practices and approaches that help staff members look at dementia care through the eyes of the patient,” he said.
Legarte said during the program implementation process, he learned about Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and how to get them approved so he could offer his program to additional providers. His program has been approved for nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists.
Legarte spent one year developing the program, which included research and literature review in addition to pilot implementation to Encompass staff members.
“I gained a lot of experience and perspective, and I have Touro to thank for giving me the opportunity to take courses that really improved my background on dementia,” he said. “The research says that by 2050, there will be nearly 150 million people living with dementia. We need to be equipped with the proper education.”
Legarte said his grandfather has dementia, which made this program personal to him. He began noticing changes with his grandfather was a student in Touro’s School of Occupational Therapy.
“With dementia, people think it’s solely memory, but it’s so much more,” he said. “The brain affects everything: your language, the way you move, etc. That messaging gets lost within the community.”
Legarte is working to grow his program in the Southern Nevada community. He also plans on serving as a guest lecturer in Touro’s School of Occupational Therapy so he can pass down the knowledge he’s acquired to future occupational therapists.
“I just want to make a difference,” he said. “I want to advocate for dementia populations and the community at large.”Learn More About Touro Nevada's OT Program