Implementation Lessons Learned: Distress Behaviors in Dementia Intervention in Veterans Health Administration. By: Curyto, Kim; Wray, Laura O; Sullivan, Jennifer L; McConnell, Eleanor S; Jedele, Jenefer M; Minor, Lisa and Karel, Michele J. 2024. Gerontologist. Vol. 64 Issue 2, p1-15.

Background and Objectives Evidence-based practices to manage distress behaviors in dementia (DBD) are not consistently implemented despite demonstrated effectiveness. The Veterans Health Administration (VA) trained teams to implement Staff Training in Assisted Living Residences (STAR)-VA, an intervention to manage DBD in VA nursing home settings, or Community Living Centers (CLCs). This paper summarizes multiyear formative evaluation results including challenges, adaptations, and lessons learned to support sustained integration into usual care across CLCs nationwide. Research Design and Methods STAR was selected as an evidence-based practice for DBD, adapted for and piloted in VA (STAR-VA), and implemented through a train-the-trainer program from 2013 to 2018. Training and consultation were provided to 92 CLC teams. Evaluation before and after training and consultation included descriptive statistics of measures of clinical impact and survey feedback from site teams regarding self-confidence, engagement, resource quality, and content analysis of implementation facilitators and challenges. Results STAR-VA training and consultation increased staff confidence and resulted in significant decreases in DBD, depression, anxiety, and agitation for Veteransengaged in the intervention. Implementation outcomes demonstrated feasibility and identified facilitators and barriers. Key findings were interpreted using implementation frameworks and informed subsequent modifications to sustain implementation. Discussion and Implications STAR-VA successfully prepared teams to manage DBD and resulted in improved outcomes. Lessons learnedinclude importance of behavioral health–nursing partnerships, continuous engagement, iterative feedback and adaptations, and sustainment planning. Evaluation of sustainment factors has informed selection of implementation strategies to address sustainment barriers. Lessons learned have implications for integrating team-based practices into system-level practice.