Your Dementia Training Program is Hurting your Company’s Profit.
Providing direct care for people with dementia isn’t an “easy” job. When I worked in dementia communities, and for non-profit organizations, our method of training was mostly classroom training. Of course, when time allowed for it (between managing family’s concerns, scheduling and filling shifts, hiring and firing, manage employee disagreements, adjusting the budget, re-evaluating care plans, coordinating changes of condition, conducting classroom training schedules, etc.), I would conduct on-the-spot coaching.
A huge part of why I opened Trovato, LLC is that, as a dementia expert, I wanted to provide more personalized coaching for professional and non-professional caregivers. I was frustrated I didn’t have enough time to provide those person-specific techniques to families when they visited and to the professional caregivers when they were providing care. I wanted to do that more.
I was also so frustrated that residents were being discharged, asked to have 24-hour care in addition to paying for the dementia care community, and home care companies were running out of caregivers to work with a specific client and therefore discontinuing their service. Family and friends of people with dementia were frustrated as well and I provided the amount of support I could with the time I had available, but I knew it wasn’t nearly enough. I opened Trovato because I wanted to do more to help!
How do Adults Learn?
Home care and Assisted Living Companies (and others) still hire me to do classroom/lecture-style trainings because it makes sense from a scheduling and marketing perspective, so I get it. Using what I’ve learned in my advanced education regarding adult learning theories, I develop classroom trainings to enhance retention using both passive and participatory teaching methods.
- Lecture (5% retention)
- Reading (10% retention)
- Audio Visual (20% retention)
- Demonstration (30% retention)
- Group discussion (50% retention)
- Practice by doing (75%)
- Teaching others (90%).
Take learning to bake a cake for example. When I was in high school, we took a class, called “Family and Consumer Sciences,” where we learned how to cook (among other things). To this day, I know how to cook certain foods because of that class. First, our teacher explains how to bake a cake in a classroom while taking notes to review later. She provides us with visual instructions, including pictures of the steps, and we watch as she demonstrates the steps for baking the cake. When it’s time to actually bake the cake ourselves, my cooking group and I all discuss the process. Once we start to bake the cake, we make mistakes but the teacher corrects us. She is an expert at this because she has been teaching others for many years. So, naturally, the cake we baked is good enough and definitely edible, but it isn’t nearly as good as hers!
The current format for most dementia trainings.
When developing a training program for dementia we try to incorporate both passive and participatory methods. We typically utilize a power point (audio visual) and someone recites information (lecture). Some participants will even take notes (reading) to review later. Then, when describing the techniques or explain the concepts, we show them what we mean (demonstration). Then, we ask the participants to use the information they’ve learned to solve different scenarios as a group (group discussion) and ask them to demonstrate use of the techniques on someone pretending to react as someone with dementia may (practice by doing). Their peers will provide feedback and correction during this exercise (teaching others).
Why aren’t we all experts in dementia care, then?
So, we’re using all the right techniques in developing the dementia training so why is it that every single person working in a dementia community is not a dementia care expert? Two reasons:
- Because we aren’t leaving those 4 walls for the training. The real magic happens when we try to crack the egg, fail, and then someone is there to show us how to get the eggshells out and try again. The current structure of dementia communities do not allow for this kind of support and training.
- Because we are people with individual and ever changing variables caring for people with individual and ever changing variables. I have been doing this for over 15 years, have experience with adults with both dementia and mental illness, with complex family history and dynamics, and understand challenges that do not allow for adding one-on-one care, moving the person, or medicating.
Corporate and regional dementia supports are not enough.
I know many companies have regional and corporate dementia directors. From what I have seen and heard from my colleagues in communities or home care companies, these directors create and implement best practices for care and activities. Their main roles and deadlines may not allow for variability to drop everything and come support a community or specific client in a time of need. Having a regional and corporate support is great but more community-specific and flexible support is also needed.
Before I opened Trovato, I managed professional caregivers. I found that they often hesitated to report challenges because they didn’t want to appear under qualified or unknowledgeable. Some would even tell me that they knew how busy I was and were afraid they were bothering me. It seemed like no matter what I did, they still were worried about letting me down or adding too much to my plate. I had really great employees!
When I begin working with professional caregivers for specific clients, the rapport is different with them than it is with their manager and different than the rapport I had with my employees when I was a manager. It is more relaxed and they feel more supported. They’re usually extremely grateful that their manager asked for my support.
A dementia expert can help by:
- Spending extended time in the community as a need arises
- Providing person-centered techniques
- Teaching these techniques on the spot, something a classroom training cannot do for you
- Being an outside ear and support system for floor employees as well as managers
- Showing the current family/friends of residents or clients as well as prospects that dementia care is a priority
Inadequate training and support is hurting your company’s bottom dollar.
Continuity is so important for people with dementia and is one of the reasons residents are successful in a community or in their home with a caregiver. Lack of continuity can mean improper techniques are employed, families are upset, residents are discharged or choose to leave. The cost of a vacant room or losing a client that was receiving 24-hour care is HUGE. The
Not only does the loss of an employee impact the quality of care provided, it hurts the company financially. Even the turnover on a minimum wage employee could cost $3,500 in turnover costs (recruiting, training, and more). This doesn’t account for losing managers that may also receive severance packages.
I have found that professional caregivers are more willing to stick with a resident or client that may be more “challenging” when they know they have someone in their corner to help show them how to improve. After my assessments, most professional caregivers ask me “I know you only met her today, but what can I do to care for her better?” They want to learn and they are usually willing to agree to sticking it out, no matter how hard it gets, for three weeks while I work with them.
Are you ready to fix this problem?
When effectively collaborating, Trovato can improve your bottom line by providing an affordable level of support and training that will result in employee and resident/client retention, thus improving the overall quality of care and your reputation. If you’re interested in discussing this, you can email [email protected] or you can schedule a call (free, of course) by visiting our professional scheduling page.