Most adults fail to think ahead when it comes to long-term care for conditions like Alzheimer’s. However, planning for these costs can save patients and caregivers so much stress in the future. Here are some steps you may want to take when tackling the costs of Alzheimer’s care.
Footprints – Training & eTracking Solutions Blog
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are claiming more and more lives every day, despite continuing research and treatment breakthroughs. In spite of the numbers, the general public has a low level of understanding when it comes to various types of dementia, causes, and available treatments.
Senior care is a specialized type of care that requires workers with a special skill set as well as a tremendous capacity for patience and sensitivity. When hiring new employees, keep in mind that some things, like proper medication storage and the best way to assist someone with toileting, can be taught—while other things, like compassion, cannot be taught. This is why employee training is so important—once you’ve filtered through job candidates and selected employees with the right temperament to work with seniors, you need to thoroughly train them. Training requirements vary from state to state and from facility to facility, but the following five topics are staples of senior-care training and should be taught to all employees who work with the elderly.
1. Privacy laws.
One of the most important things that you’ll need to really drive home with your employees during their training is the absolute importance of the privacy laws that are in place to protect seniors. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA, prevents senior caregivers or any other healthcare professional from being able to discuss the care of their patient with anyone on any level. These laws are very strict and must be covered extensively during employee training.
2. Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Sadly, more and more seniors are being diagnosed with one form of dementia or another. Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common types of dementia, is a degenerative disease of the brain characterized by forgetfulness, confusion, and mood swings. Working with people with dementia can be difficult, and the ability to provide specialized care requires thorough training and education.
3. Diet and nutrition.
Many seniors require a specialized diet—and that diet is often affected by medication. For example, one type of blood thinner that is commonly prescribed to seniors prevents them from being able to eat leafy greens like lettuce. Along the same lines, seniors with diabetes have many limitations when it comes to the types of foods they can eat. Caregivers who work with the elderly need to be aware of restrictions like these so there are no mix-ups with potentially dangerous foods.
4. Medication administration.
When caregivers are tasked with assisting the self-administration of medications, they will need comprehensive training on this process. They’ll need to understand what it means to assist, and when they can and cannot offer assistance, as well as your company policy for tracking medications, and the procedure to follow if a pill is lost or a mistake is made. While many common medications prescribed to seniors are fairly benign, there are some that could result in serious injury or even death if given incorrectly. When there is even a slight chance of injury or illness, it’s important to take as much time as necessary to make sure that your caregivers are comfortable assisting with the self-administration of medications.
5. Abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
One of the most tragic realities of senior care is the prevalence of abuse that exists within the industry. Seniors are susceptible to many different types of abuse including physical, financial, emotional, and sexual, not to mention neglect and exploitation. Many seniors fall prey to abuse from their friends and family members, and even caregivers with the best of intentions may unknowingly commit some type of abuse if they aren't educated in exactly what constitutes abuse. When caregivers know exactly what to look for, they will be more likely to observe and report possible abuse. No matter what, caregivers need to know they can, and should, speak up even if they aren't sure if abuse is taking place.
Training new employees is critical, but even the most experienced caregivers can benefit from continuing education on these topics and other relevant subjects. Initial, annual, and continuing education will ensure a safe environment for our senior population.
Tags: caring for the elderly
In some industries, employee training programs are more important and in-depth than others. Health care, for example, is a field where intense staff training may be required. To get even more specific, staff training is vital for assisted-living facilities. Senior care professionals who work in assisted-living facilities need a thorough understanding of health-care laws, various conditions that are common to the elderly, and specialized operational systems, while also remaining mindful that they are offering a unique "home" environment.
Assisted-living facility employees run the gamut from nursing staff to dietary specialists and from the maintenance crew to the housekeeping staff. While each department fulfills different roles and responsibilities, and may need customized training, all staff must be trained in the basics of caring for the elderly population. And as the number of seniors entering assisted-living facilities continues to grow, there is more need than ever for consistent, high-quality training for caregivers.
Safety and awareness
The biggest concern in an assisted-living facility is the safety and well-being of the residents. It is crucial that all employees, regardless of their position, are thoroughly trained in topics such as infection control, the aging process, cognitive impairment, dementia, and fire and life safety, just to name a few. While every state and individual facility will have its own set of training requirements, basic training for all staff should extend to fall prevention, emergency situations, and basic food safety.
New employees who don’t necessarily have hands-on resident caretaking responsibilities (housekeeping and maintenance staff), are often surprised to find out that they too are required to take these training courses. It may help to remind them that resident safety and well-being is dependent on all staff and that, if they’ve never been trained in these areas before, it’s even more important that they be trained now so they can react accordingly if necessary.
Understanding assisted-living residents
Because senior care calls for a unique skillset among caregivers, unless someone has previously worked in the field, he or she will have a limited understanding of how to work with and around assisted-living residents. Therefore, your employee training program must include materials that teach employees about their work environment, what they are likely to encounter on a day-to-day basis, and the philosophy of assisted living. In addition to training, employees will benefit from the on-the-job experience they’ll get as they meet and deal directly with residents.
Think about it, if you hire a new employee who has never worked in senior care, he or she may not have a thorough understanding of the more common ailments and diseases that affect residents, like dehydration, Parkinson's, and dementia.
Residents with certain conditions require a very special level of care that requires a thorough understanding of the disease and the way it impacts those with it. The best thing you can do for your employees (and for your facility) is ensure that they are able to provide the highest level of care. Detailed and interactive training on all applicable topics is the best way to do this.
Upholding legal requirements
Operating an assisted-living facility comes with numerous legal obligations and requirements. For example, all your employees and caregivers have to be educated and compliant with the HIPAA laws. These laws protect the privacy of your residents and prevent your employees from discussing residents’ personal conditions and matters with anyone outside the facility.
Educating your caregivers and staff on these and other applicable laws should be one of the top priorities of your employee training program. This type of training will protect your residents, your staff, and your facility.
The people who work in assisted-living facilities are dedicated, hard-working individuals who spend their days caring for our aging population. Those qualities, plus a well-planned and executed training program, can combat any lack of prior experience when they begin their job at your facility. Put simply, educating your caregivers is essential to the success of your staff and the overall safety and happiness of all your valued residents.
Tags: caring for the elderly
It can be overwhelming to know and understand all the regulations that apply to the health care industry and to know which regulatory agency is responsible for the enforcement of certain requirements. Because it can get confusing, and because it’s so important that we understand who does what and why, I thought it was time to talk about regulations, to break down the regulatory agencies who govern and have oversight for health care and review why they’re important and how they impact each of us on a daily basis.
Because we’re relatively new on the assisted living training scene, we’re fielding a lot of
questions about our courses. We’re happy to answer the calls and emails and we love to talk to clients and prospective clients, but we thought it might make sense to answer the most commonly asked questions right here, for everyone to see.
In this ever-changing society where individuals are living longer and post-World War II baby boomers are reaching the age of 65 or older, the prevention and treatment of diseases are becoming more complex. Because of this, the need for an efficient and affordable health care delivery systems is greater than ever.