As dementia progresses, people often become more reliant on non-verbal communication, using their behaviour to express their unmet needs and concerns.
A strictly medical approach to care often misreads these behaviours, at times leading to an over-reliance of anti-psychotics, sedatives and restrictive practices.
To help prevent this from happening, dementia-related behaviour needs to be perceived as a form of communication – with escalating behaviour a sign of a person’s increasing distress.
For nurses and carers, this involves being able to recognise the different types and stages of dementia, so they can provide the best support and adjust their care to compensate for the person’s cognitive and functional deficits.
Training towards better holistic care
The Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) has created an evidence-based training program that addresses the emotional needs behind challenging dementia-related behaviours.
Its Dementia Capable Care (DCC) training program equips nurses, healthcare workers and carers with the tools they need to be the best care partner for people living with different stages of dementia.
Based on the latest research, the course combines the Claudia Allen Cognitive Disabilities Model and Thomas Kitwood’s model of person-centred care with the Crisis Prevention Institute’s verbal de-escalation techniques.
The program’s blended approach teaches program participants the right care techniques to drive measurable positive outcomes in the lives of their clients.
According to dementia specialist Kim Warchol, creator of the DCC training program, this puts workers in the best position to help create a “dementia capable society” in Australia.
“The Dementia Capable Care program focuses on what those living with dementia can still do, awakening their strengths and potential at every dementia stage. We enable them to engage in meaningful activities at their best ability and to thrive,” said Ms Warchol.
Supporting staff on the dementia care frontline
The DCC training program aims to give staff the opportunity to build skills and confidence in managing challenging behaviours – through a format that suits their busy work schedule.
Each of the program’s training concepts is taught online and reinforced through virtual interactive classroom activities, so staff don’t need to take too much time away from their jobs to attend.
Case studies, extensive application, examples and a written examination ensure that the program’s participants gain knowledge and are able to demonstrate skills introduced in the program.
One participant recently shared that this approach had a genuinely positive impact on their care environment.
“With the Dementia Capable Care training program, our staff are more confident and far less fearful of our residents with dementia,” they said.
“Families notice the positive interactions that staff display with their loved ones, and behaviours have dropped drastically.”
CPI is the worldwide leader in evidence-based de-escalation and crisis prevention training and dementia care services.