Now What? Behavioral Health Care

This episode of the award-winning Now What? series provides an overview of the behavioral health care spectrum that encompasses youth, adults, and the elderly. Viewers will learn about the resources and approaches to care and support available through all the stages of life.

For family members and caregivers of people with dementia,some of the most vexing and stressful challenges are the changes in and unpredictable nature of behaviors that present in the course of the disease. Some specific behaviors accompany different types of dementia. Medications can sometimes cause or contribute to the behavior. But caregivers can learn to better interpret the cause or meaning behind them, and understand that some behaviors may communicate certain needs.

Panel of Experts

Dr. Anna Fisher serves as the Hillcrest Health Services health, quality, and nursing services education expert. She is responsible for the implementation of educational and quality improvement programs following the identification of clinical needs, competency exams, and supporting the need for high quality of care for diverse business lines that include assisted living, memory support, adult day services, home health care, palliative, hospice, post-acute, and skilled nursing care. 

Dr. Fisher is also an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bellevue University and teaches in the Masters-Health Administration Program. She was awarded the prestigious Maenner Award for Professorship of the Year in 2012. In 2015, she received the APEX Award for Excellence in Health & Medical Writing by Nursing2015, for an article she co-authored entitled, "Best Practices for Engaging Patients with Dementia."

Dr. Fisher is co-producer of the NET Connects series, Now What?, about elder care and dementia. The program series received a 2014 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Silver Award in the Service to Community category and a 2012 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Bronze Award of Excellence in the category of Service to Community.

Dr. Fisher is currently President of the Consortium of Dementia Alternatives and Vice President of the Montessori International School of the Plains. She is a certified dementia practitioner, licensed nurse, and holds an undergraduate degree in human resources, graduate degree in business management, and a doctorate in health administration.


Linda Wittmuss, PA, BS, is currently serving as the Deputy Director for System Integration with the Division of Behavioral Health in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Linda is a graduate of the Physician Assistant program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed Alcohol and Drug Studies at the University of California, Mission Viejo. She has primarily worked in the public sector system in both primary care and behavioral health treatment and prevention settings and in the provision of direct service and administrative roles. Her current service to the Division includes strategic planning, cross system integration, and quality and performance management to promote system change.


Dr. Cameron Camp is a noted psychologist specializing in applied research in gerontology. He currently serves as Director of Research for the Center for Applied Research in Dementia. Dr. Camp gives workshops on designing cognitive and behavioral interventions for dementia internationally. His current research involves: use of Montessori-based activities as rehabilitative interventions to enable long-term care residents with dementia to effectively lead activities for other residents with dementia; interventions to enable therapists to apply memory improvement techniques during the course of therapy with persons with dementia and other cognitive impairments; and the use of cognitive rehabilitation via telecommunication to enable persons with cognitive deficits to adhere to medical regimens.

Dr. Camp received his doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Houston in 1979. He has co-authored three college textbooks and published over 100 articles in journals such as the Journal of Gerontology, The Gerontologist, Experimental Aging Research, Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders, Clinical Gerontologist, Psychology and Aging, the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, and the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Charter Member of the Association for Psychological Science, and currently serves as president of Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) of the American Psychological Association. His research has been funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Alzheimer’s Association.


Sandy Shire is on the caregiver journey with her husband, Lee. Sandy and Lee appeared previously in Now What? Approaches in Elder & Dementia Care. Lee is now in long-term care. Sandy continues to see him daily, and shares her experience and strength with others on the journey.

 

 


Dr. Deborah Hoffnung is a clinical neuropsychologist with CHI Health in Omaha, where she specializes in the evaluation of individuals with dementia, epilepsy, stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumor, and memory difficulties associated with chronic medical conditions. Dr. Hoffnung is board certified in Clinical Neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. She received her PhD from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA and then completed a one year Neuropsychology/Clinical Psychology internship and a two year fellowship in Neuropsychology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Glen Oaks, NY.