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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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By Maggie Hall, Public Information Director

February 05, 2019


Older adults with dementia find evacuations and special-needs shelters more bewildering than the average person. They may become agitated and personnel transporting them to a shelter, as well as the staff receiving them, will be assisting them during already difficult conditions.

Health-care professionals can learn ways to handle preparedness issues during a free monthly series called Plugged In that will run from February to July.

As a response to challenges faced in special-needs shelters during recent disasters, the annual series was created to help nurses, social workers and other health professionals strengthen skills for communication with some of the most medically vulnerable members of our community. Future topics range from oxygen use to tips for understanding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and its impact on sharing information during disasters to tips for working in a special needs shelter.

The first two-hour program in the series focuses on awareness of dementia and tips for working with clients with cognitive impairment. It will be offered at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Laboratories, 3602 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa 33612.

Gary Joseph LeBlanc, CDCS, director of education at the Dementia Spotlight Foundation and Common Sense Caregiving, will discuss various types of dementia and share best practices on communicating with adults who are impaired. For information on Common Sense Caregiving, go to

To register for the no-cost program, which offers continuing education credits, go to Future programs in the series will also have online registrations here:

For information about DOH-Pinellas, go to or call (727) 824-6900. Follow us on Twitter @HealthyPinellas.


About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit