“AFA Partners in Care: Supporting Individuals Living With Dementia” Available Now

A meaningful understanding of dementia is essential to any dementia care provider’s toolbox, but being armed with just the basics is not enough. Today’s professional, including nurses, social workers, assisted living and long term care professionals, need a host of other skills and sensitivities to make a positive difference in the quality of life for people with dementia and their families. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has announced a new program—available through its Dementia Care Professionals of America (DCPA) division—that aims to transform the standard of dementia care. “AFA Partners in Care: Supporting Individuals Living with Dementia,” is a six-hour comprehensive training video that emphasizes the importance of relationship-building in dementia care.
In recent years, there has been a significant shift toward a culture of dementia care that is person-centered, valuing the uniqueness of each individual rather than applying a “one size fits all” approach to care. This philosophy involves interdisciplinary collaboration among care providers and places individuals with dementia and their families at the center of decision-making processes to ensure care plans reflect their needs and preferences. Such thinking is critical to promoting wellness and health and improving the delivery of dementia care across the board. In fact, the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which was released in 2011 and updated annually since, counts “Enhancing Care Quality and Efficiency” as one of its goals.
“As the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise, it is critically important that today’s healthcare and emergency services professionals are cognizant of the specific skills and considerations involved in caring for individuals with dementia,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO. “Our new training program is geared toward helping professionals improve quality of life for individuals with dementia and their families.”
The video features a variety of health care professionals, including renowned industry experts James Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor for clinical research and professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, and medical director of the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center and professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing; Mark Lachs, M.D., professor of medicine and co-chief of the division of geriatrics and gerontology at Weill Cornell Medical College; Richard Powers, M.D., a geriatric psychologist and neuropathologist and member of AFA’s medical and scientific advisory board; and dementia care consultant and educator Teepa Snow, M.S. O.T.R./L., F.A.O.T.A. In addition, critical perspectives and insights are provided by individuals living with dementia, their families and other care providers, including direct care workers.
“We are proud of this innovative training program, which goes beyond the basics and encourages participants to think critically about their work,” said Molly Fogel, LCSW, AFA’s director of educational and social services. “It is our hope that the video’s emphasis on relationship-building as the cornerstone of high-quality dementia care, will cultivate a more skilled and empathetic workforce that is prepared to meet the unique needs of this growing population.”
Participants who complete the training can take an exam to demonstrate their proficiency in the subject matter and become an AFA-Certified Dementia Care Partner. This certification, renewable each year, will require that individuals earn continuing education credits in dementia care-related core competencies. DCPA offers training, certification and other benefits to dementia care professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides and therapists. DCPA has trained more than 8,000 professionals since the division was founded in 2004. For more information about DCPA’s newest training program, visit http://www.careprofessionals.org/ or contact Molly Fogel at 866-232-8484 or email: mfogel@alzfdn.org.