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Riverside Launches Innovative Team Member Training Initiative for Memory Care Support Teams

December 05, 2023
Purple Flower Project

For those experiencing memory loss, seeking medical care can be overwhelming because of their cognitive challenges. To improve patient and caregiver experience, specifically in the hospital setting, Riverside Health System (RHS) has launched an innovative training program for team members designed to better equip them to care for the specific needs of those with memory care and cognitive changes. 

After identifying an increasing need for a tailored approach to caring for those experiencing memory care concerns, The Martha W. Goodson Center created the Purple Flower Project in 2019. The program encompasses advanced in-person training designed to increase team member sensitivity and understanding while caring for the unique needs of patients with memory concerns and providing support for their loved ones. The forget-me-not flower is often recognized as a symbol for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other memory loss conditions. This small image is an indicator and reminder to the health care team that the patient may need a specific avenue of support to meet their unique needs. In 2021, the program completed a successful pilot implementation at Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg (RDHW) and will expand to Riverside’s hospitals in Gloucester, Eastern Shore and Newport News.

“Memory loss can take so much from someone, including their sense of familiarity and security. Through the Purple Flower Project, care teams around the health system can easily identify and adapt their approach to care for those with memory care concerns,” says Frankye Myers, Chief Nursing Officer at Riverside Health System. “By tailoring care and support to patients’ needs, our nursing teams, providers, dining services, environmental services, and other ancillary support teams will be able to alleviate unnecessary anxiety and confusion for the patient and their loved ones.”

There are plans for the Purple Flower Program to expand to Riverside Medical Group Offices, Riverside Mental Health & Recovery Center and the lifelong health communities. 

“With the continued success of implementation at RDHW, we are proud to have been pioneers in this approach to care and excited to roll this program out to the other RHS acute care facilities,” says Michelle Wooten, Chief Nursing Officer at Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg. “The program will create safe, compassionate environments across the health system for our nursing and support teams to care for and understand the needs of those with memory care concerns.” 

To learn more about The Martha W. Goodson Center, please visit riversideonline.com/memorycare