Certified Nurses Day Spotlight On: Sandra Grow, RN, AFTD Board of Directors

Sandra Grow 2

To mark National Certified Nurses Day, we’re spotlighting AFTD Board Member Sandra Grow, RN, who has worked to increase FTD awareness amongst healthcare professionals and the general public.  

For more than a decade, Sandra Grow, RN, has aimed to increase FTD awareness, working in support of AFTD’s mission to educate medical professionals on how the disease impacts the lives of persons diagnosed and their families.

When Grow’s husband Karl was diagnosed with behavioral variant FTD in 2007 at the age of 54, she funneled her efforts into increasing widespread awareness of FTD. Grow, an AFTD Board of Directors member who has more than four decades of nursing experience, said that “as a nurse, I didn’t know anything about the disease.

“When joining the [AFTD Board], my specific interest was making professionals aware [of FTD]. I’ve always said that we need to get FTD on people’s radar so that when [physicians] are thinking of a differential diagnosis, FTD is one of the things that they think of,” said Grow.

Before joining the Board in 2018, Grow was already an engaged AFTD volunteer, co-facilitating a support group in Ohio and joining the Partners in FTD Care advisory committee, where she worked with fellow healthcare professionals to help produce AFTD’s Partners in FTD Care newsletter. She was featured as a contributing author in the Spring 2020 issue of Partners in FTD Care in which she provided guidance on navigating resistant behaviors while caring for persons diagnosed with FTD. The former FTD care partner has also attended and taken part in AFTD’s annual Education Conference in support of others along the FTD journey.

Grow, who works part time as a Quality Nurse at the Ohio Anesthesia Group, said that since learning about FTD and its related symptoms, she has increased her own knowledge about brain functioning and the impacts of neurodegeneration.

“No one understands that the frontal lobe is so important — that was a big learning part for me,” Grow shared. “I tell people they need to understand where the changes in behavior are stemming from.”

Grow has utilized her nursing expertise and her personal connection to FTD to further drive AFTD’s mission to improve the quality of life of people affected by FTD and drive research to a cure. She educates other professionals on how care partners/caregivers are managing behavioral changes and other FTD-related symptoms. As an AFTD Support Group Volunteer, she assists others who are impacted by the disease providing them with support, education, and resources.

“Part of being a nurse is that you look at a problem, look at the possible solutions, and you put it into play,” Grow said. “If a person gets a diagnosis, I don’t want them leaving their neurologist without some type of information. There are support groups available and AFTD has information to learn about and help cope with the disease.”

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