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alzheimer’s foundation of america’s dementia training program equips nursing professionals with critical skills to care for dementia patients

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 professionals, in particular, nurses who are on the frontlines of care 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) recently released a comprehensive six-hour training DVD—“AFA Partners in Care: Supporting Individuals Living with Dementia”—that can help nurses and other professionals expand their professional skills.

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.

“Nurses and nurse practitioners are often the first point of contact for the growing number of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO. “It is critically important that today’s healthcare professionals are cognizant of the specific considerations involved in caring for individuals with dementia and we are proud to offer this training tool to help professionals further develop their skills.”

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.

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 www.careprofessionals.org.

About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,400 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline staffed by licensed social workers, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook.