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Serious and Persistent Mental Illness and Dementia Resources

PDF Version of DQA 07-011 (PDF, 78 KB)

Date: July 16, 2007 -- DQA Memo 07- 011
To: Adult Family Homes AFH 08
Community Based Residential Facilities CBRF 08
Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled (FDD) FDD 08
Nursing Homes NH 08
Residential Care Apartment Complexes RCAC 08
From: Jan Eakins, Director
Division of Quality Assurance

Otis Woods, Administrator
Division of Quality Assurance

Serious and Persistent Mental Illness and Dementia Resources

This memo provides information on resources and educational opportunities available for people who work with individuals experiencing serious and persistent mental illness or dementia.


In 2006, mental health issues were identified as an emerging concern for assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the State of Wisconsin. The subject was discussed at Nursing Home Industry/Bureau of Nursing Home Resident Care collaborative meetings, the FOCUS 2006 ("Collaborating for Quality; Ideas To Action") Assisted Living Panel, and Wisconsin Assisted Living Association Wisconsin Healthcare Regional Workshops.

In response, Sinikka Santala, Administrator of the Division of Long Term Care, assembled two collaborative workgroups (one to address assisted living facilities and one to address nursing homes) to identify specific issues, recommend strategies, and develop materials to assist staff serving individuals with mental illness or dementia. 

The Mental Health Training for Assisted Living Providers' Workgroup included representatives from the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA), the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Wisconsin Mental Health Association, and the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association. 

The Nursing Home Challenging Behaviors Workgroup included representatives from DQA, the Division of Long Term Care, nursing homes, the Board on Aging and Long Term Care, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Wisconsin Health Care Association, County Psychiatric Hospital Association, and Association of County Homes.

As a result of work and recommendations from these two workgroups, DQA is proud to announce the availability of resources and educational opportunities for health care and DQA staff who work with people with serious and persistent mental illness and dementia.

Educational Opportunities

DQA, in collaboration with healthcare providers, advocacy groups, Department of Health and Family Services staff, and Dr. Abhilash Desai; has developed a two-part Mental Health web cast series designed for nursing home, assisted living, and DQA staff. The web cast includes:

"Part One: Serious and Persistent Mental Illness" -- This multifaceted program addresses diagnosis and treatment of serious and persistent mental disorders in healthcare settings; such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and recurrent, major depression. 

These disorders are prevalent, under-recognized, and under-treated in most health care settings in the United States, and can cause immense suffering. They are also associated with high morbidity and mortality, including suicide.

 Part one discusses the implementation of evidence-based, individualized, comprehensive treatment plans with innovative approaches (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological) that can dramatically improve the quality of life for individuals with mental disorders.

"Part Two: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders" -- This presentation will define dementia and discuss the different types. The presentation will also include a discussion of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to enhance the quality of life for individuals with dementia.

The presenter for both web casts is Dr. Desai, a geriatric psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Alzheimer's Center of Excellence, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, in Appleton, Wisconsin. Dr. Desai completed medical school in India and a psychiatry residency at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"Part One: Serious and Persistent Mental Illness" is currently available for viewing. "Part Two: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders" will be available for viewing after July 23, 2007. For a direct link to these web casts, visit:   After viewing the web casts, a certificate of viewing can be printed from:


Below is a list of additional resources and educational sessions that can be added to reference collections or quality improvement libraries:

A Brief Overview of Mental Illness

This presentation covers common mental illness diagnoses with a description of symptoms and discussion of an individual's experience of the illness. Treatment approaches, including common medications and side effects, are discussed.  Link:

Working with Angry People and Chronic Callers

This is a short presentation about the psychology of anger and methods of effectively responding to individuals who experience anger. Dr. Diamond discusses avoidance of power struggles and methods for allowing individuals to feel heard.  Link:

Risk Assessment: Suicide and Violence

This presentation discusses assessment of an individual's risk for suicide or other violent behavior. This segment is targeted at clinical staff with ongoing relationships with patients. Link:

If you have questions about this memorandum, please contact Dinh Tran at (608) 266-6646, or

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