Americans are enjoying longer a life expectancy than ever before. One unfortunate fact that accompanies a longer lifespan is the increased likelihood that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today. This could grow to as high as 16 million by 2050.
Home health care and hospice providers are in a unique position to strengthen their Alzheimer's and other dementia care services and become community leaders in education and awareness.
Feb. 14-Feb. 21 is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Staff Education Week. Use this health observance as a springboard for a year of enhanced attention for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
- Start with a visit to the official observance page of the National Council of Certified Dementia Providers. While you’re there, you can download a free Staff Training In-services and Tool Kit to help kick-start your efforts. The kit includes a Power Point presentation, interactive exercises, and more.
- While it won’t be appropriate for all providers to develop a dementia care specialty, all providers can benefit from improving their knowledge of current best practices when it comes to dementia care. Make sure all of your in-home care providers receive a digital copy of the Alzheimer’s Association’s guide “Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Professionals Working in a Home Setting.”
- Contact your physician referral sources and underscore your commitment to treating patients with dementia. Take along a copy of the patient education guide you use with to help educate patients and their family members as you integrate them into their care.
- Don’t limit your educational efforts to professionals this month. Provide additional support to those who are providing care for a loved one with dementia. Create a flyer about the care fundamentals for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias -- be sure to include the resources available within your organization.
- Increase your visibility at community events this February and distribute brochures or flyers that highlight the services you provide for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.