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Curriculum

Course 1: Dementia Care Practice in a Multicultural Society (4.0 hours)

Instructors: L. Dubin, C. Gelman, D. Kaplan, A. Ortigara

Description: Understanding dementia in the context of an aging society is critical in addressing the needs of this growing population. This course explores the demographics and health disparities of current and projected aging in the US for major ethnic and racial groups. A session on dementia symptoms provides an introductory orientation to the intellectual, psychiatric, psychological, functional, and behavioral changes that are common among disorders of dementia. The final session in this course will include a discussion on cultural awareness and relationship-centered care.

Objectives: Upon completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Categorize and define the multiple symptoms of dementia.
  2. Identify resulting challenges associated with disorders of dementia.
  3. Implement key person-centered care principles into daily practice.
  4. Utilize understanding and principles of health disparities, cultural competence and the impact on aging individuals to be more skillful in facilitating professional patient dialog and interaction.

Course 2: Cognition, Assessment, and Treatment Strategies (6.25 hours)

Instructors: N. Barbas, B. Giordani, D. Kaplan, S. Roberts

Description: When changes in memory, thinking or behavior disrupt everyday functioning, obtaining an early clinical diagnosis is an important step in helping patients and families plan for the future. This course provides an introduction to how the brain works and explores how aging and neurological illness can affect brain functioning. Participants will learn about best practice approaches to a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, and the characteristics of different forms of dementia. Ethical and policy issues in the use of genetic tests will also be explored. Course lectures will include communication strategies related to diagnostic disclosure, individual and cultural reactions to a diagnosis, and the importance of interdisciplinary teams in providing effective person-centered treatment plans.

Objectives: Upon completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and reflect on biological aspects of dementia.
  2. Describe the basic structure of the brain.
  3. Explain normal changes in the aging brain and in cognitive and behavioral functioning.
  4. Describe the impact of dementia on our aging society.
  5. Identify ethical considerations and policy issues related to the use of genetic tests and biomarkers.
  6. Identify best practices and state of the art diagnostic tools for assessing cognitive and behavioral changes, and the implications of Mild Cognitive Impairment on dementia.

Course 3: The Family Journey (8.25 hours)

Instructors: R. Chang, C. Gelman, D. Kuhn, L. Rice-­Oeschger, B. Spencer, C. Vitale

Description: Working with individuals and families at the time of a diagnosis and beyond requires specialized knowledge and clinical skills. Understanding cultural perspectives and family dynamics is critical in providing person­-centered care. This course reviews key aspects of long term care planning, including strength­-based approaches to addressing changes in functional abilities related to work, hobbies, driving and activities of daily living. Lectures will focus on strategies to help individuals and families assess risk and make decisions that promote dignity and safety throughout the dementia journey. Late and end stage care considerations will be explored.

Overview: Upon completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and reflect on gaps of self­-knowledge related to caregiving, community resources and care planning throughout the dementia journey.
  2. Identify some common emotional and psychological reactions to experiencing cognitive change.
  3. Describe health disparities pertaining to Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
  4. Describe cultural competence related to ethnic and cultural differences in caregiving roles and expectations.
  5. Explain the importance of legal and financial planning in relation to culture and individual differences to preserve choice, self­-determination and personhood.
  6. Identify dispute resolution approaches in addressing family dynamics.
  7. Apply best practice approaches to responding to individual and family challenges in adjusting to key transition points throughout the dementia journey.
  8. Identify ethical issues in advanced care planning and end of life decision making. Describe hospice and palliative care options and criteria and implement best practices in facilitating end of life conversations with patients and families.

Course 4: Personalized Practice for Responding to Behavior Change (6 hours)

Instructors: M. Blazek, H. Kales, D. Kaplan, B. Spencer, L. Struble

Description: The middle stage of dementia, also known as moderate dementia, is characterized by changes in cognition and functional autonomy as the person with dementia requires increasing assistance. Behavioral symptoms such as agitation, sundowning, wandering and resistance to bathing often become challenging to manage. This course provides an overview of the changes faced by people with dementia, families and health care professionals as the disease progresses to the middle stages. Physical and psychological changes, delirium and medical illnesses are discussed, as are co­-morbid mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Course sessions will describe evidence­-based problem-­solving approaches to 1) identifying risk and triggers for behaviors, including communication, environment or medical issues, 2) assessment of behavioral changes and 3) non­-pharmacological interventions to prevent or respond to the behaviors. Instructors demonstrate use of culturally competent skills and a person­-centered approach to help families address behavioral changes.

Objectives: Upon completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and reflect on gaps of self-knowledge related to behavioral assessment and interventions.
  2. Describe the impact of personal characteristics, culture and background of an individual with dementia on his/her journey through the middle stages of the disease.
  3. Identify the contribution of chronic illness and the aging process to the behaviors of individuals with dementia.
  4. Describe the contribution of anxiety and depression to understanding the person's journey.
  5. List common behavioral challenges in mid stage dementia.
  6. Identify risks and triggers in the assessment of behavior changes and implement best practices in person­-centered interventions.

Course 5: Maintaining Well-Being throughout the Dementia Journey (4 hours)

Instructors: A. Mondro, D. Potts, L. Rice­-Oeschger

Description: The effects of stress on the brain can significantly impact overall health and the coping abilities of individuals with dementia, caregivers and healthcare professionals. There is growing evidence that engagement in wellness practices can strengthen stress management skills and promote well­-being throughout the dementia care journey. This course reviews outcome-­based research on wellness approaches and the use of expressive arts in memory loss and dementia care. The importance of cultural awareness in identifying person-centered wellness approaches will be addressed. Course sessions will explore strategies to preserve well­-being and prevent burnout, and provide healthcare professionals with effective tools to help themselves, clients and families properly adapt to care challenges and stress.

Objectives: Upon completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the effect of chronic stress on coping and well-being.
  2. Describe the latest research and implications in wellness practices, such as exercise, tai chi, yoga, etc., for individuals, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.
  3. Describe how expressive arts, such as storytelling, music, painting, and movement can improve quality of life in the home and in residential care throughout the dementia journey.
  4. Implement simple and brief mindfulness-based practices to foster a healthy work-life balance.

Course 6: Moving Forward (3.5 hours)

Instructors: M. Barclay, L. Dubin, B. Hampstead, J. Howard, S. Roberts

Description: What can we do now to change and take action on the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders? This course explores preventative interventions and the implications of public policy on the growing need for quality care standards, accessible service, and research funding to help individuals and families live well with memory loss or dementia. Course sessions will also focus on developing an action plan to implement new knowledge and skills obtained throughout the certificate program.

Objectives: Upon completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and reflect on gaps of self-knowledge related to prevention research and strategies.
  2. Identify current prevention trials and explore the implications of prevention research.
  3. Describe research behind the heart-brain connection and the neuroprotective properties of exercise, diet, mental activity, and socialization.
  4. Explain public policy efforts and interventions needed to address the Alzheimer's epidemic.
  5. Describe an innovative practice change model: ACT on Alzheimer's.
  6. Explore the role of dementia experts in leading change.
  7. Demonstrate assessment and intervention approaches through case study presentation.
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