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What is the Positive Approach to Care (PAC), and How Does It Differ From Traditional Perspectives on Dementia Care?

Laurie Walther, MS, CCC-SLP

January 1, 2024



What is the Positive Approach to Care (PAC), and how does it differ from traditional perspectives on dementia care?



The Positive Approach to Care offers a different understanding of dementia's pathologies, focusing on connecting and interacting with individuals with dementia by "doing with" rather than "doing to." It emphasizes sensitivity, compassion, understanding, and flexibility to enhance and preserve the dignity of the person with dementia. The mantra is that "Dementia doesn't rob someone of their dignity. It is our reaction to them that does."


This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: An Introduction to Teepa Snow and Positive Approach to Care, by Laurie Walther.

laurie walther

Laurie Walther, MS, CCC-SLP

Laurie is an ASHA-certified, Texas-licensed Speech Language Pathologist with over 26 years of experience, primarily in the Skilled Nursing setting. She is the co-founder and principal of Empowering Care Partners, a company providing training and consulting to individuals living with dementia and their care partners who support them, including family members, dementia care professionals, and organizations. Laurie currently provides speech therapy services in Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and the acute care hospital setting and is part of the Residency team for a college, working alongside instructors and graduate students on applying their clinical skills and knowledge. Laurie recently co-created a program support series, "Eating Well with Dementia", collaborating with colleagues in Malaysia and Wales. This has progressed to working with the Ministry of Health in Malaysia.


Laurie is a Certified Independent Trainer with Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care, and she provides training and support to care partners and persons living with dementia. She has served as a mentor and leader to her partners, corporate members, staff clinicians, families and caregivers, and patients and residents. She has created many clinical, educational, and operational programs that have been carried out at the community level, corporate-wide, nationally, and internationally. Laurie has been a staff clinician, clinical leader, director of rehab, regional director, and senior vice president of rehab. She loves teaching, mentoring, and leading individuals to maximize their best to support those we serve. 

Related Courses

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: An Introduction to Teepa Snow and Positive Approach to Care®
Presented by Laurie Walther, MS, CCC-SLP


Laurie Walther, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #6144Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'The way the instructor displayed the information made it easier to retain that information'   Read Reviews
There is so much more to supporting a person living with dementia than just knowing they have the diagnosis. This presentation will introduce you to Teepa Snow, the Positive Approach to Care, and skills to support someone living with dementia to promote quality of care and improved outcomes.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Between Therapists And Certified Nursing Assistants
Presented by Brittany Horvath, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP


Brittany Horvath, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP
Course: #6145Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'This course gave a lot of information and tips on how to better communicate in a work environment as well as provide better care for you patients in that you and your coworkers are on the same page in a nursing environment'   Read Reviews
Interdisciplinary collaboration between therapy and certified nursing assistants in the skilled nursing setting will be discussed in this course. Perceived barriers and ideas for successful implementation will be explored alongside case studies demonstrating outcomes associated with effective collaboration.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Positioning Around The Clock Matters
Presented by Tamara Kittelson, MS, OTR/L, ATP/SMS


Tamara Kittelson, MS, OTR/L, ATP/SMS
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  'I work in a SNF and I wish every CNA in our facility could watch this seminar'   Read Reviews
Therapeutic positioning for residents of skilled nursing facilities can lead to better sleep quality and daytime alertness, with reduced pain and agitation when provided skillfully throughout the day and night. This course provides 24-7 posture care management theory and benefits for this population while addressing facility challenges and the importance of a team approach.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Applying GEMS States, A Case Study Utilizing Positive Approach To Care
Presented by Emily Briggs, OTR/L, RAC-CT


Emily Briggs, OTR/L, RAC-CT
Course: #6138Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Excellent presentation'   Read Reviews
The previous course in this series introduced you to Teepa Snow and her Positive Approach to Care. This course will take the skills and techniques learned and apply them to a case study to illustrate how these techniques will promote quality of care and improved outcomes.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: WC19 And The Transportation Of Older Adults In Wheelchairs
Presented by Brenda Mahon, OTD, OTR/L, ATP


Brenda Mahon, OTD, OTR/L, ATP
Course: #6140Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Excellent content'   Read Reviews
Motor vehicle safety for drivers and passengers has increased exponentially over the past forty years. According to the literature, people seated in wheelchairs during travel are forty-five times more likely to be injured in an accident than a typical passenger. Currently, there are no federal regulations for wheelchairs used as seats in motor vehicles. This course will review principles for safe transportation.

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