SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester County Emergency Medical Services recently completed Alzheimer’s care training to help first responders better understand Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, how to address the needs of patients that suffer from it and how to work with those patients.
“A lot of people in this country don’t have a lot of recognition of the fact that there is truly an Alzheimer’s and dementia crisis,” said Joshua Arrant, Dorchester County Emergency Medical Services Captain and Training Officer.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5 million people live with Alzheimer’s in the United States. A press release also said it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the country, it is one of the only leading causes of death in the United States that is on the rise. Data from the organization shows that around 86,000 people over the age of 65 live with the disease in South Carolina.
The training shows first responders how to treat patients with dementia.
“A person with Alzheimer’s and dementia, there’s a tone in your voice, a way that you react to them and interact with them that makes a difference in getting them to do what the first responder, police officer needs them to do,” said Micky Styslinger, NOAH Project Coordinator for The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services.
Dorchester County EMS also can now refer caregivers of those with the disease to ARK Alzheimer’s Family Support Services who partnered with the department to train first responders.
“We now have resources for those caregivers to go and attend classes, support groups, assisted services to where sometimes they can get a little time off,” said Arrant.
The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services plans to work on training in Charleston and Berkeley County next year.