Nelson County Health System provides dementia training with funds from BCBSND Caring Foundation BUILD grant

NCHS LPN Cindy Oien presenting dementia care materials at a booth.

NCHS LPN Cindy Oien presenting dementia care materials at a booth.

Grant funds cover cost to provide beneficial training to nursing home staff and other community members

McVille, N.D. Nelson County Health System (NCHS) in McVille, North Dakota received one of the 2023 BUILD grants given by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation. The grant helped support dementia training for various health care professionals in McVille and beyond.

NCHS licensed practical nurse (LPN), Cindy Oien, is the only trained and certified consultant in North Dakota to teach the Positive Approach to Care (PAC) curriculum. As a certified consultant, Oien travels to nursing home facilities across North Dakota and provides dementia education from the PAC curriculum. She also gives classes at the McVille Community Center and other small towns in the county to educate the public on dementia and its challenges.

With the funds from the BUILD grant, Oien was able to purchase a computer and projector for her training presentations. It also helped cover the cost of supplies and travel expenses as she drives across the state to present.

“It’s not just health care workers that are getting educated,” shared NCHS CEO, Samantha Harding. “It’s also community members that come in who may have parents with dementia or just want to know about it in general. Some families have even done one-one training with Cindy.”

With extra support from the grant, Oien has been able to travel and give presentations to multiple nursing homes that average around 50 to 100 employees each. This means, she’s been able to educate hundreds of health care professionals during her travels on the challenges and best practices of caring for dementia patients.

Oien has received a lot of positive feedback from both health care workers and families who are experiencing the challenges of dementia care. She and those at NCHS see her presentations as a continued part of her work in North Dakota.

“We’ve seen a big change in our own facility of how people interact and work with dementia patients,” shared Harding. “Our goal is to get into more nursing homes and other health care facilities in general as that is where the need for dementia training is. Also, offering more courses in the community to families and those interested in the training is definitely our plan going forward.”

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation
Established in 1989, the BCBSND Caring Foundation ( is a private 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Through giving and investing, the Caring Foundation focuses on key health issues that help improve the health and well-being of North Dakotans and their communities. Caring Foundation staff work with grantees to support nonprofit sustainability, collaborate on shared outcomes and create lasting change.

About Nelson County Health System
Nelson County Health System ( is a multi-functional organization, composed of a rural health clinic, critical access hospital, care center and assisted living, that provides several services and excellent healthcare for the residents of Nelson County and surrounding areas. Their mission is to enhance the health status and quality of life for peoples and communities served.