Training Curriculum: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Currently, more than five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease.  Training for the primary care workforce about dementia, and caring for those affected, is essential.

With federal partners and public stakeholders, the Health Resources and Services Administration created a curriculum—16 core modules and four supplemental modules—for health educators to train the primary care workforce about dementia care, and to help providers address caregiver needs.

To promote interprofessional teamwork in the care of persons living with dementia, this curriculum may be used by:

  • Health professions faculty
  • Students
  • Primary care practitioners
  • Members of the interprofessional geriatrics care team
  • Direct service workers

Modules 1-12 contain information about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias of particular interest to the primary care workforce. Modules 13-16 specify the roles of specific health care professions in dementia care.  All 16 core modules include a PowerPoint presentation, with detailed notes, and a reference list, to assist with teaching and presentations.

The modules focus primarily on outpatient rather than residential care because the majority of persons living with dementia remain in their homes during the earlier, and some even through later stages, of dementia.

The curriculum modules can be accessed here.

Module List

Module 1: Overview of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia for an Interprofessional Team
Module 2: Diagnosing Dementia
Module 3: Recognizing the Role of Diversity in Dementia Care   
Module 4: Providing and Discussing a Dementia Diagnosis
Module 5: Understanding Early-Stage Dementia for an Interprofessional Team
Module 6: Understanding the Middle Stage of Dementia for the Interprofessional Team
Module 7: Management of Common Medical Conditions Observed During Middle and Late Stages of Dementia
Module 8: Medical Treatments of Dementia
Module 9: Interprofessional Team Roles and Responsibilities
Module 10: Effective Care Transitions to and from Acute Care Hospitals
Module 11: Ethics and Capacity Issues
Module 12: Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Persons Living with Dementia
Module 13: Clinical Social Workers and Clinical Psychologists: Practicing with Persons Living with Dementia and their Care Partners 
Module 14: The Role of Acute Care Staff in Emergency Departments (EDs) and Hospitals for Persons Living with Dementia
Module 15: Role of the Pharmacist in the Management of Persons living with dementia
Module 16: Dentistry and Dementia

Managing sleep problems in people with Alzheimer’s — Tips

Alzheimer’s disease often affects a person’s sleeping habits. It may be hard to get the person to go to bed and stay there. Someone with Alzheimer’s may sleep a lot or not enough, and may wake up many times during the night.

Here are some tips that may help caregivers manage sleep problems in people with Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Help the person get exercise each day, limit naps, and make sure the person gets enough rest at night. Being overly tired can increase late-afternoon and nighttime restlessness.
  2. Plan activities that use more energy early in the day. For example, try bathing in the morning or having the largest family meal in the middle of the day.
  3. Set a quiet, peaceful mood in the evening to help the person relax. Keep the lights low, try to reduce the noise levels, and play soothing music if he or she enjoys it.
  4. Try to have the person go to bed at the same time each night. A bedtime routine, such as reading out loud, also may help.
  5. Limit caffeine.
  6. Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom.

Learn more about sleep and Alzheimer’s disease on the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral website.

Creating Partnerships to Provide the Saavy Caregiver Program

Shawnee Alliance in collaboration with SIU-Family Practice Memory Clinic, SIU-School of Social Work Dr. Elaine Jurkowski and the Carbondale Regional Alzheimer representative will be offering the Savvy Caregiver Program course starting in September 28th thru November 2nd.

To reach the persons we feel could benefit, the Memory Clinic will be reaching out to their patients and Shawnee Alliance will be reaching out to Family Caregiver clients we are aware of.

There are a few unique opportunities being offered:

  • The care receivers will either be in the Memory Clinic testing or being cared for by Dr. Jurkowski “Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST)” group.
  • The care givers will be in the “Savvy Caregiver” program.
  • All will be located in the Memorial Hospital of Carbondale complex, with ADS in Carbondale also being approached to assist if unable to participate in the CST.
  • We will have telephonic access available as well as Care Coordinators from Shawnee Alliance will offer face to face in the home if necessary.

For more information about the program (or how to think about setting up a similar one in your community), please contact:

Marsha Nelson
Community Service Unit Director
Shawnee Alliance
Phone:  618-985-8322 or 618-956-9627

Understanding Frontotemporal disorders (FTD)

You may not have heard of frontotemporal disorders (FTD) such as frontotemporal dementia, primary progressive aphasia, and movement disorders, but scientists estimate that they make up about 10% of all cases of dementia, and are more likely to strike at an earlier age. Though we hear more about Alzheimer’s disease, FTD can also rob people of basic abilities like thinking, talking, walking, and socializing.

 

Learn the basics of frontotemporal disorders, including changes in the brain.

 

Find out more about other forms of dementia that aren’t Alzheimer’s.

Health professionals—get tools and training for your practice

Health professionals—physicians, nurses, social workers, and others—play an important role in identifying and caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Check out Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resources for Professionals to access FREE resources on topics like:

  • Tools for assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management
  • Disease-specific information
  • Professional training and curricula
  • Clinical trials and studies
  • Patient care
  • Patient and caregiver education

Minimize danger around the house—tips for caregivers

People with Alzheimer’s disease may not see, smell, touch, hear and/or taste things as they used to. Make life safer around the house by:

  • Checking foods in the refrigerator often. Throw out anything that has gone bad.
  • Put away or lock up things like toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, rubbing alcohol, soap, or perfume. They may look and smell like food to a person with Alzheimer’s.
  • If the person wears a hearing aid, check the batteries and settings often.

Remember to re-evaluate the safety of the person’s home as behavior and abilities change.

Learn more about home safety for people with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s research—what you can do to help

“When I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I wanted to do everything possible to fight the disease, not give in to it. I talked with my doctor about possible treatments. He helped me find a clinical trial that was right for me. Now I get to talk with Alzheimer’s experts. Plus, I know I’m doing something that might help my children and grandchildren avoid the disease.”

This is an exciting time for Alzheimer’s and dementia research. Advances are being made because thousands of people have participated in clinical trials and studies to learn more about the disease and test treatments.

You can help. Check out Participating in Alzheimer’s Research: For Yourself and Future Generations to learn about:

  • Types of clinical research
  • Common questions about participating in research
  • Why placebos are important

Why studies need all kinds of people