The team here at AGE-u-cate recently ran a poll on this very question. Of the following options, including online learning, experiential training, peer-to-peer mentoring, and "other". The clear winner was experiential training, coming in at 77%, followed by peer-to-peer mentoring at 23%.
There are many definitions of threshold that are worth discussing before we jump to the meat of how it relates to dementia training.
Topics: AGE-u-cate Training Institute, Dementia Live®Training, Direct Care Workforce Training, workforce training, dementia care training, Communication Skills Training, caregiver education, Skill Building
Empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a while so you can imagine what they are going through, leading to a deeper understanding of their feelings and behaviors.
In previous blogs, I've discussed the proven benefits of Dementia Live® as a powerful and effective experiential foundational training experience.
To elevate dementia care practices, care partners must first understand dementia and how persons with dementia feel challenged with cognitive and sensory changes. Dementia Live® simulates cognitive and sensory impairment, giving participants first-hand experience living with dementia.
In dementia simulation programming, there's a lot to say about what makes Dementia Live stand out. Since its launch in 2015, the team here at AGE-u-cate® has spent more time listening to our client partner's needs than talking. The result?
A program that is indeed what our tag line says: Proven. Powerful. Effective. Tag lines can get wordy, so we'll discuss another significant benefit:
Dementia Live is incredibly flexible.
As empathy and skill-building training, Dementia Live brings together a transformational experience, care partners empowerment session, and practical tools to professionals and families across the aging care spectrum. The team at AGE-u-cate believes that EVERYONE needs to better understand dementia.
We are at the crossroads of unprecedented growth in our aging population, which will continue to affect every aspect of our society. Therefore, aging and dementia education is necessary for breaking the cycle of ageism and exclusion for persons living with cognitive changes. Our provider partners are key catalysts to offer this critical dementia awareness experience and education to the world.
Dementia Live coaches receive organized, easy to deliver training which allows them (provider organizations) to take the Dementia Live program beyond the walls of their own organization. We provide the tools and resources to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, such as a virtual version of the Experience developed in response to the COVID pandemic. This Virtual Dementia Live Experience allowed providers to continue to use the program as an outreach education tool while social distancing restrictions were in place. Here's what The Alzheimer and Parkinson Association of IRC had to say about AGE-u-cate's pivot to a Virtual Experience during Covid.
Dementia training is serious business. As we grapple with the exponential growth of people living with dementia, aging services providers are looking closely at programs that will improve outcomes for their residents, clients, staff, families and support business goals.
The AGE-u-cate team has been hard at work since the launch of Dementia Live® in 2015 to deliver a program that meets the complex needs across the spectrum of aging services to serve better those living with dementia and their care partners.
Integrated by over 800 organizations and agencies in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Dementia Live® has a robust value in the aging services industry. This evidence-informed training program is guided by science-based experiential learning and microlearning strategies. Placing the learner directly in touch with the realities of living with dementia, they gain more profound levels of understanding and knowledge and receive practical skill-building tools and techniques that effectively improve care and quality of life for care partners.
Part of my responsibility as the VP of Grant Initiatives is to track the progress of Compassionate Touch® and Dementia Live® online coach training for the nursing homes that are participating in our Civil Monetary Penalty Grant (CMP) projects. We have amassed an impressive list of nursing home staff in Ohio , Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee who have completed online training to become Compassionate Touch® and/or Dementia Live® coaches.
After months of reviewing training reports, this week I noticed something other than the number of new coaches, and that is the number of coaches since 2019 who are still with their facility.
I need to preface by saying that this information has not been confirmed by participating facilities, but each time an email bounces back to me- the name is scratched off my list. In Ohio, 99/124 Compassionate Touch® and 76/106 Dementia Live® coaches appear to be reachable with the same email address used to enroll in coach training, indicating retention of 79% and 71% respectively.
Admittedly, there is likely a margin of error in these numbers, but assuming a -10%, these numbers are impressive, considering the massive turnover that has occurred during the pandemic.
Employee Engagement and Retention
While the recipe for retention is far more involved than just providing staff education, I believe I am justified in believing the human resource investment that these participating facilities made in Compassionate Touch® and Dementia Live® training may have contributed to the retention of these coaches. Many of these coaches are still in touch with me and share their excitement about starting up training again.
National Commission for Quality Long Term Care, 2007
Public Policy and Aging Report, 2017
National Institute of Health, 2021
The above studies reveal that the reasons for voluntary separation include many factors, but lack of quality training and education, feeling ill-prepared, and absence of professional growth were consistent factors.
Compassionate Touch® and Dementia Live® coach training is high quality, relevant and fills knowledge gaps that move the ill-prepared to a place of confidence and competence. These programs are also utilized as career ladder opportunities in many organizations, and that number is growing.
Everyone should take a moment and think of your accomplishments over this past year- I am sure there are many. For me, taking stock that perhaps our work at AGE-u-cate® has helped to in some way to keep employees engaged and retained is very rewarding.
Aging Services providers are scrambling to find new and dynamic ways to replenish their depleted workforce. Creative messaging and incentives are being deployed to entice prospects, but these efforts are for naught if turnover continues at the pace this industry has experienced. A laser focus on employee retention is imperative.
AGE-u-cate thrives on relationships, whether that be with aging services providers or industry partners.