BAI Director Selected for The Practice Change Leaders
Lori Nisson, LCSW Director of Family and Community Services at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Caregiver stress and burden may be misunderstood, with the real culprit being ambiguous loss

Contact: Caitlin Wendt,

Banner Health is pleased to announce that Lori Nisson, LCSW Director of Family and Community Services at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, was selected to participate in the sixth cohort of The Practice Change Leaders program.

This 2018 class of Practice Change Leaders for Aging and Health was carefully chosen from professionals who responded to a highly competitive nationwide call for applications. Ten Leaders were selected to participate in the prestigious program, aimed at building leadership capacity among professionals who have a leadership role in a health care delivery organization, health-related institution, or community-based organization with direct responsibility for care that impacts older adults. Through participation in the 14-month Practice Change Leaders program, awardees receive $45,000 and the support of local and national Mentors to further develop their leadership skills and to complete a project aimed at implementing a new geriatric service line or aging program. Complementing their development as individual leaders, the Leaders will be joining a collegial network of dedicated professionals who share a commitment to improving health and health care outcomes in older adults.

As part of the PCL program, Nisson has chosen to implement a program titled Steps to H.O.P.E. (Health, Optimism, Purpose, Endurance), which features a social worker providing small group sessions to family caregivers to provide additional support, counseling and concrete coping strategies. The goals of this project are to help professionals reach additional family caregivers to reduce their stress and burden by providing them with strategies that promote their ability to adapt more effectively with adversity and make them more comfortable in dealing with ambiguity.

“Compared to caregivers of people without dementia, twice as many family caregivers of people with dementia report substantial financial, emotional and physical challenges as a result of caregiving,” Nisson said. “Caregiver stress and burden may be misunderstood, with the real culprit being ambiguous loss. A grief which is unclear, has no resolution and no closure. Dementia creates ambiguous loss whereby the person is physically present but psychologically or emotionally absent.”

The Practice Change Leaders program is made possible by the generous supported of the Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation, and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

The program is under the direction of Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH. To learn more about the program, please visit

About Banner Health
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

About The Atlantic Philanthropies
The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic is a limited life foundation that makes grants through its five program areas: Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, Reconciliation & Human Rights, and Founding Chairman. Atlantic is active in Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit:

About the John A. Hartford Foundation
The John A. Hartford Foundation is a private philanthropy working to improve the health of older Americans. After three decades of championing research and education in geriatric medicine, nursing, and social work, today the Foundation pursues opportunities to put geriatrics expertise to work in all health care settings. This includes advancing practice change and innovation, supporting team-based care through interdisciplinary education of all health care providers, supporting policies and regulations that promote better care, and developing and disseminating new evidence-based models that deliver better, more cost-effective health care.
The Foundation was established by John A. Hartford. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s. Additional information about the Foundation and its programs is available at