Staff Member Spotlight: Carmel Dolcine-Joseph

Elder Care Alliance’s Corporate Director of Clinical Services takes a hands-on approach with every aspect of resident services.

You might expect a Corporate Director of Clinical Services and Memory Care Programming to be sitting in an office making big decisions about processes and implementing new programs for the care of approximately 500 residents in four communities based solely on feedback from people in the field and the big picture. But Carmel Dolcine-Joseph takes a hands-on, individualized approach to her job.

“I’m at one of our communities, at the very least, once a week. This hands-on, supportive approach differs from other people in a role like mine, who have impact on policies, but often lack a full understanding of how those policies impact resident quality of care and operations,” she says. How a policy actually gets operationalized within the complexities of a community environment is critical.

Matching Seniors to the Right Memory Care Programs

A California Certified Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) Administrator, Certified E.H.R. Implementation Manager, and Licensed Vocational Nurse with more than 15 years of experience in senior living and long-term care, Dolcine-Joseph has been the Director of Clinical Services at Elder Care Alliance for almost two years. In that time, she has led change across risk management, regulatory compliance, resident health data statistical analysis and electronic health record processes. And, most recently, she has been focusing on fine-tuning Elder Care Alliance’s innovative memory care programming.

“What we’re accomplishing in my new memory care role is enhancing what we’re currently doing: matching the right residents to the right programs to address needs specific to their stage of dementia. We’re really focused on the opportunity to create resident-led experiences,” she says.

That emphasis on putting the individual at the center of her own care reflects Elder Care Alliance’s commitment to holistic wellness and to understanding the needs and preferences of a resident’s entire being. At Elder Care Alliance communities, care goes beyond just pharmacological treatment and incorporates psychosocial and spiritual support to address every aspect of wellness.

“Before a resident moves in, just as it’s important to have her medical history, it’s also important to have her social history. We require that information, so we know what is important to each person. It’s not just, ‘What are your current medications?’ It is: ‘What are your likes? What are your dislikes? What are your triggers?’”

On a recent visit to the memory care neighborhood at AlmaVia of San Rafael, Dolcine-Joseph witnessed a transformation in one resident, largely due to the new changes in resident-caregiver program matching. “This particular resident with late-stage dementia had been very disconnected in previous programs. As I was watching this resident and caregiver after our new training implementations, I saw the resident was more alert and able to better communicate. It was just great to see.”

There is nothing more holistic than a Corporate Director who facilitates change based on big-picture trends and data as well as on individual involvement with community staff and residents. “I consider myself an extension of every community, not just a name they see in emails. I want the staff and residents to say, ‘Great, Carmel is here joining us!’ Not, ‘Oh great, the Clinical Director is here.’ Our team strives to erase any actual or perceived barriers between the communities and ECA’s main office, which we refer to as the ECA Support Center. I emphasize the ‘Support’ by acting as a resource and partner, working tirelessly 24/7 to make things better for our residents and staff.”

Dolcine-Joseph’s commitment to providing the best clinical services to all of her residents means that some days her office will be empty, while she’s out in the field ensuring that the choices she makes lead to positive outcomes for residents and our staff.

To learn more about Elder Care Alliance’s innovative memory care programming, download our white paper.

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