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Author: 
Kim Warchol, President and Founder of DCS at CPI 

Since the signing of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) in 2011 there has been an ever-
increasing demand for a dementia care specialized workforce spanning all staffing levels and across the care continuum—from acute care to senior living and home health care. Today you see a myriad of
dementia training programs and curricula, as well as businesses promoting their dementia care
specialization. Demand will continue to accelerate as the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias accelerates in the years ahead.

Download the 2023 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures

But Let’s Be Clear. “Dementia Care Specialist” does not have a cut-and-dried definition.

In fact, it can mean very different things based on its origin. I highly encourage you to go beyond what is quickly becoming an overused term to understand its true meaning in each unique situation. It is
important to understand what a person or organization means by “specialization,”. For example, what
training is required to become a specialist? How is the dementia care credential earned and verified? Is the training evidence-based? I encourage you to use a question list when seeking training and dementia care specialization, like the list we provide below. We’ve provided short responses as to how we would answer these important questions.

(Note: The question list below is tailored to someone seeking training and a specialist credential, but you can ask similar questions if you are seeking services from a business or individual that promotes being dementia specialized or credentialed. In addition, we offer a variety of Dementia Capable Care training programs that include a credential upon successful completion. Therefore, the responses focus on our training programs and credentialing.)

  • What role(s) is dementia care training most applicable for? Our Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training has been designed for anyone who works in health care—from nurses and therapists to frontline staff. Our Dementia Capable Care Instructor Certification training is ideal for those who are in the role of training others and who want to create a Dementia Capable Workforce. Our Dementia Capable Care Specialist Credential training offers additional content for assessors and planners such as nurses and Occupational Therapists.
  • What will I learn and what advanced knowledge and skills will I gain from the training? The purpose of our Dementia Capable Care training is to prepare a workforce who can enable those living with dementia to engage in meaningful activities at their best ability, and to reduce the frequency and severity of distress behaviors, non-pharmacologically. It is the perfect first step, building knowledge and skills in person-centered care, how to adapt care and communication for different stages of dementia, and learn valuable de-escalation and distress behavior prevention strategies.
  • What outcomes can be expected as a result of the training? Those who attend our Dementia Capable Care trainings begin to establish a common understanding, philosophy, and framework that the interdisciplinary team can use to facilitate positive outcomes at your workplace. Attendees will learn a person-centered, best abilities approach to understanding stages of dementia and how to promote emotional well-being and best ability to function at every stage. Positive outcomes from implementing what is learned can include less use of psychotropic drugs, mitigating risks such as falls, hospitalizations and staff injury, and improving function and quality of life.
  • Is the training curriculum evidence-based and has it demonstrated effectiveness? Yes, our training focuses on our CPI Dementia Capable Care Model which is based upon principles of person-centered care, the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Model, and activity adaptation/gradation. CPI’s Crisis Development Model is also embedded in our training. This model has been used for years by many including behavioral health specialists and schoolteachers who care for children with special needs and are at risk for distress behaviors.
  • How is the dementia care specialization earned and what does it mean? CPI’s Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training offers a Dementia Capable Care Specialist credential. Earning the credential requires successful completion of the course that consists of approximately seven hours of training, including application work. When someone earns this credential, they will have demonstrated an understanding of all the core content, as evidenced by their participation in the class and passing a written post-test.
    We also offer the opportunity to become a Certified Instructor of our Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training program. You must complete an instructor certification course that includes a teach-back, then pass a written test.
    Participants of our Dementia Capable Care Specialist Credential training course receive a Dementia Capable Care Specialist credential and a verified digital badge with successful completion, which includes participation in approximately 8-hours of training and passing of a post-test.

It’s About More Than a Credential.

Dementia care training is vital, and credentials and titles are nice to earn. But in my opinion, what is
most important to determine is the quality and scope of the training program and the impact it could
have on your care skills—needed for your role—for those you serve.

Take the time to do your homework to discover what is best for you. There are very general dementia
training programs and there are those like Dementia Capable Care Trainings from CPI that utilize
evidence-based care models and offer how-to frameworks woven throughout every aspect of the
program. Remember it is important to make comparisons as one dementia care training program and
one dementia care specialist credential is likely very different from the other.

It is our hope that a high quality, passionate, and specialized dementia care workforce rises to meet the growing demand to enable those living with dementia to thrive. Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis
Prevention Institute is here to help make this vision a reality - one partner at a time.

Gain the knowledge and skills to optimize function, safety, and quality of life for those you serve and certifications to distinguish yourself or your organization as a leader
 

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It’s Time to Talk About Some Tough Stuff

OK, here we go. I am going to interrupt my normal “how to,” information laden blogs with a bit of a rant to hopefully raise awareness and inspire some important advocacy. This is a point of view blog, which feels like it must be shared. I keep coming across situations in my personal and professional life that are so genuinely concerning, I just had to write this. In each case there is a clear need for more awareness, honest discussion, and advocacy for solutions and improvement.
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How to Prevent and De-escalate Distress Behaviors Without Drugs

A required skill for quality dementia care is to be able to prevent and safely de-escalate distress behaviors such as pacing, cursing, threatening, and hitting. None of us want to get hurt on the job or verbally abused, and unfortunately it happens. The key to reducing this risk (and to provide high quality care for those living with dementia), is to make the necessary shift to empowerment, driven by informed and compassionate understandings.

I Want To Be Part of the Solution!

I Want To Help Create A Dementia Capable Society

Are you ready to expand your impact? Let’s work together to determine the best solution to make it happen!

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