Caregiving for Alzheimer’s – and Training for Alzheimer’s Care

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Alzheimer’s disease has been in the news a lot recently.  First, we learned that the problem may be many times greater than currently reported since cause of death is often identified as something other than Alzheimer’s, even when that is the primary diagnosis of the individual.  Getting a new perspective on the scale of this problem today and the nearly inconceivable scale of it in the future will hopefully provide some much-needed impetus for funding and focus on better intervention, medication to delay advance and ultimately on a cure.

In the news as well has been new advances in understanding the nature of the disease, from how it changes the brain to how it seems to affect the functioning of some individuals far more significantly than others, even though they have similar brain changes.

Today a news story was posted on Newsweek.com titled “For Caregivers, Alzheimer’s Can be a Life Sentence.” The article starts by describing some work done by Mary Mittelman of NYU’s School of Medicine to “give families and people with Alzheimer’s…a sense of normalcy,” and continues to describe the experience of the more than 15 million family caregivers.

Supporting those who care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease has long been a focus of mine personally, as well as a focus for our training programs here at IPCed.  Professionally, I’ve been involved in this field for over 30 years.  I continue to volunteer as a family support group facilitator for my local community hospital, talking to those exact individuals described in this story and hearing their pain – and their joy – on a monthly basis.

Stories include that of the 60+ year old woman who recently married someone she believed would be her companion into later life, traveling and experiencing these “golden years” together.  Now, she’s the primary caregiver for her husband with rapidly advancing dementia.  She feels cheated; unsure whether she’ll even be able to stick it out with him.

Other stories include a new group member who is also caring for a husband with recently diagnosed dementia.  She says, “He’s my best friend.  Even if we weren’t married, I’d be caring for him or helping him with whatever he needed.”

As family and professional caregivers learn skills through training classes, both formal and informal, they find easier ways to navigate the most common challenges of communication and daily care.  They understand better the disease and the progression as they get more confident that they’re doing “the right thing” and the guilt of constantly second-guessing their actions fades away.

Caregiving CAN be incredibly challenging.  At the end of the day, however, those caregivers who better understand the disease and have learned better skills often say, “There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

To learn more about IPCed’s caregiver training for persons with Alzheimer’s disease please contact a Training Specialist for a FREE PREVIEW of training courses.

New Content Partnership

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March 21, 2014 – ePath Learning, Inc., a leader in cloud-based learning services, proudly announces a new learning content partner, the Institute for Professional Care Education (IPCed). IPCed provides engaging online training content for the Senior Care industry that meets state and federal compliance requirements. IPCed offers a wide range of training topics from basic and advanced caregiving skills to Alzheimer’s and dementia care, safety, first aid, and medication management, to name but a few. ePath Learning will deliver IPCed’s content through its award-winning Learning Management System (LMS), ePath Learning ASAP.

“We are pleased to partner with ePath Learning and provide an additional platform to deliver our online caregiver training programs that improve quality of care” said Sharon Brothers, MSW, Chief Executive Officer at IPCed. “Our programs meet an important industry need by simplifying compliance training for home care, home health and assisted living facilities. ePath Learning’s technology platform is a great fit for IPCed courseware and we look forward to working together to help improve caregiver skills throughout senior care industry.”

“We recognize that there are profound changes happening in today’s healthcare landscape. As our nation’s population ages, more seniors are choosing to stay home rather than moving to nursing facilities. The senior care industry is exploding with growth, and training this influx of new senior care givers is of paramount importance” stated Donna Lord, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, ePath Learning, Inc. “We’re pleased to be able to offer IPCed content to meet the growing needs of our client base, particularly those looking to expedite their senior care training initiatives.”

About ePath Learning:
ePath Learning develops innovative, world-class software applications that improve training and human performance for organizations. Its portfolio of corporate learning services includes cloud-based learning portals, enterprise social networking technology, and custom eLearning development services. For more information, call us today at 908 722-6622, or go online to www.ePathLearning.com.

ePath Learning is a registered trademark and ePath Learning ASAP is a service mark of ePath Learning, Inc.

How to Avoid OSHA Fines

Posted by & filed under Compliance.

Number 1 on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s list of low hanging fruit for citations is documentation.

OSHA is a significant contributor to the federal income stream… bringing in more money than they spend due to all the citations they issue.

Part of an OSHA inspector’s performance evaluation is actually based on the quantity of citations they write!

OSHA has huge incentives to find all sorts of fun ways to write you up and ruin your day. But take a deep breath because there are some great resources available to ensure that your company and employees are all on the same page and well protected from pesky OSHA inspectors and their strict citation. Fees can often be reduced and even waived if you fix a citation voluntarily as soon as possible and communicate with your inspectors.

Keeping your records of documentation, aka recordkeeping, in order is just as important. Some records have to be kept for 30 years after an employee’s departure from your company such as HIV/AIDS and TB tests – initial and annual!

Documentation includes writing up the content of the material covered, the regulation number, and the date and signature of the person who completed the task. Everything from monthly fire extinguisher checks to emergency planning to procedures on cleaning hazardous substances – if you think to yourself, “Should I document this?” then you should probably document it. That brings me to this week’s Insider Tip.

Insider Tip: you can actually call your local OSHA office and ask them questions – the best part is you don’t even have to reveal who you are. They are happy to help you and answer your questions; with this trick, you can get the answer you need, protect yourself from citations, and correct your method if you discover you’ve been doing something wrong. For extra safety from citations, make a note of who you spoke to, the date you spoke to them, and record that note in your documentation. That way, if an auditor goes through your records, they’ll know exactly why you documented something the way you did, giving you an extra boost on compliance protection!

Remember to document, because if it wasn’t documented, it didn’t happen!

Family Caregiver Training in Oklahoma (and on IPCed)

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Today I’m sending a shout-out to Julie DelCour, a journalist for the Tulsa World who wrote an article published March 16, 2014 titled “An army of caregivers with no basic training.”

DelCour points out that Oklahoma has over 600,000 family caregivers, which is more than the entire active-duty US army.

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End of life care – training makes all the difference

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It’s interesting in that two different news stories hit my desk this week.  One was a Wall Street Journal “Ask the Experts” column titled “How can we reduce end-of-life health-care costs?”

The other was an article published online in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA) titled “Attitudes toward Death, Dying, End-of-Life Palliative Care, and Interdisciplinary Practice in Long Term Care Workers.”  Both articles address something that will become increasingly in the forefront of our national awareness: how we view end of life.

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The New IPCed Learning Management System

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If you are familiar with our online training system aQuire, you will be amazed by our improved LMS.  It provides the same great online courses, but with expanded management features.  Now you will easily be able to add new employees, update their information, load and credit your own training materials, and run over 40 reports to track and organize your staff’s progress.

I’m Jody Halia, the Implementation and Support Coordinator at IPCed.  I will be your personal assistant for onboarding your company to the new Learning Management System.  Together we will create a customized site to meet your training needs.

Ready to get started?

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Training videos and bigger brains

Posted by & filed under Industry News.

bigger-brainsReading through my daily news updates, this lead sentence caught my eye:  “People learning a new skill might pick it up more quickly by watching videos of other people performing the same task, a small new study suggests.”  This story, published online in the February 18, 2014 edition of HealthDay News was reposted on WebMd, a website I often turn to as a resource for healthcare information.

My intention was to share this story since we use many how-to videos in our basic skills training courses, especially in our online nursing assistant and caregiver training courses.  I started thinking about ways to enhance our online learners’ exposure to the videos and got a little sidetracked, especially when I read this finding in the study:  “People who viewed training videos experienced 11 times greater improvement in their motor skills than people not provided the videos…” Read more »

Chocolate Cake and Training Success

Posted by & filed under Training.

senior-living-feb-2014Few things are as exciting as seeing your name (and passion) in print, at least for someone like me who thrives on talking to people about training.

Thanks to the latest issue of Senior Living Executive, the official publication of the Assisted Living Federation of America, that’s our experience here at IPCed.  In fact, the cover story is the same as the title of this blog and it’s all about training.

I love that the writer, Adam Stone, captures some of the challenges in creating and evaluating a training program.  It’s hard to identify exactly when a training program produces a return on investment (ROI) for the company.  Sometimes it’s hard even to identify when a training program is effective and when you’re just “phoning it in,” as a friend of mine likes to say.

I always tell our customers (and those considering becoming a customer) that a good training program does more than teach facts.  It should change attitudes, perceptions and values, too.  It should, most importantly, change behaviors.  When a training program is working you should be able to see it.  You should be able to watch a caregiver’s interaction with a challenging client, for example, and see that she’s using techniques, words and approaches she’s learned through your training program.  THAT’S a training program that’s working.

What is Blending Learning – and Why Should You Know?

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Take a moment and think of the word “training.”

What did you think of? A group of people listening to an instructor standing at the front of a room? Or maybe a person completing an e-learning module on a computer? Or even a mentor demonstrating a skill to a new employee in the work area?

If an image did flash to mind, it was probably just one thing: the instructor-led training, the e-learning, the on-the-job training, or something else.  And that’s fine. But after you read this article, we hope you think of more than one kind of training. And, even more important than that, we hope you consider using several different types of training the next time you design a learning experience.

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