New Dementia Program for Caregivers
The prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly growing in the United States. Over 40% of people currently over the age of 70 have been diagnosed with some type of dementia or related disease. Over the next few decades this number is expected to increase a staggering 50%.
Interim Health Care, a national homecare provider, has launched a new program for caregivers.
Their formal ‘Dementia Program’ is devoted to providing educational materials and tools to its caregivers across its network.
Utilizing a science-backed approach to dementia care, specialized training is being offered to better understand how a patient’s brain is changing at each stage of disease progression.
Interim HealthCare Inc.’s program is based on the methodology of Teepa Snow, an international leader in the Positive Approach to Care (PAC) for those living with dementia.
Catherine M. Tedder, the Senior Manager of Program Development and Implementation at Interm Healthcare Inc., took the time to answer some questions regarding this new program.
Why is it important to have a caregiver specifically trained in dementia?
“The biggest struggle that people living with dementia have each day is anxiety, agitation and fear. With brain changes and abilities faltering, it leaves the person in an understandable state of confusion and anxiety.”
“To have a caregiver that is trained in recognizing how the vision changes, hearing changes, cognition changes, and physical ability changes affect the person living with dementia is enormous!” says Catherine M. Tedder.
“For both the patient and the family. Families struggle to decrease anxiety/agitation in their family members. The physical techniques that our program teaches allows our caregivers to reduce stress and anxiety and de-escalate agitation.”
“Because our program utilizes the Teepa Snow Gem States-our caregivers can understand where the person living with dementia is on their pathway and can customize their care to the current situation of the patient.”
Does the price between getting an Interim dementia-trained caregiver differ from a non-dementia-trained caregiver?
“From a Medicare home health perspective, no. This payment to the agency is based on the clinical assessment at Start of Care. From a Hospice perspective, the payment would also not be changed based on the education of the staff member.”
“From a personal care and staffing perspective, I believe the pricing could vary, based on the franchise rates. The employees that participate in the education program will be compensated for their time, therefore, I would suspect that there could be variation in pricing, but that would be at the discretion of the franchisee.”
How will Interim pair their trained caregivers with the right dementia patients?
“As with all assessments for personal care, home health, and hospice, the person performing the assessment will have the skills to identify needs and the type of care required. Our program also encourages feedback and input from the family members, who also participate in the care.”
Once a caregiver is trained through Interim HealthCare’s Dementia Program, are there opportunities for continuous learning?
“Yes. While this training program has been granted CEU’s for nursing, and Interim HealthCare in-service hours for the aides, office staff and sales staff, there will be continued courses related to caring for those with Dementia. There is so much more that we can learn to offer better care and that is the plan.” says Catherine M. Tedder.
Having a fully educated staff can make the lives of everyone easier and happier. When the sales staff understands first-hand what the aids learn and do for the patients, they can explain to potential clients the kind of care to be expected for their loved one.
It can be difficult to remember every piece of valuable information at times, having continuing education courses related to caring for dementia patients can improve the lives of the patients and make the jobs of caregivers easier. This can also provide peace of mind to family members who are putting the lives of their loved one in the hands of a caregiver.
Continuing education can benefit the business as well, educated staff members that see employees investing in them are going to be more likely to stay employed with them and provide quality care.
As time goes on and technologies advance, the best possible solutions are not always the same as yesterday’s best possible solutions. Having up to date accurate knowledge about what will work for dementia patients is vital for a successful healthcare business.