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.

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

Health Care Professionals: Online course for Practical Discussions about Cognitive Impairment with Patients

Discussing memory concerns with your patients can be difficult. Alzheimer’s and other dementias are complex, and patients often have a lot of questions and concerns.

To help you prepare for these visits, the Alzheimer’s Association® presents Challenging Conversations About Dementia.

The five-module online course covers:

  1. Counseling the Worried Well Patient: Review of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Risk Factors
  2. Diagnosing the Cause of Dementia: Why Is This Important?
  3. The Road Ahead to a Differential Diagnosis: What Can the Patient Expect?
  4. Caring for a Patient Newly Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease: What Needs to be Addressed?
  5. Driving Retirement: Challenging Conversations in Community Mobility

In this free course, you’ll receive information to confidently approach the detection, diagnostic and care-planning process for your patients with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Complete this course at alz.org/FreeCME.

Libraries: A valuable component of the Dementia Friendly Illinois initiative

As Illinois embarks on its journey to make the State dementia friendly, an important resource to include in the planning process is its public libraries.  Public libraries are respected institutions that can be found in nearly every town, village and city in the state.  No longer content to be mere warehouses for books, libraries are increasingly taking on inclusive projects as vital participants in their communities.

Libraries can make a valuable contribution to the Dementia Friendly Illinois initiative.  The Dementia Friendly America website includes a Library Sector Guide that outlines a wide variety of activities and resources available through libraries.  In addition to offering educational and informational programming about dementia to caregivers and the general public, libraries contain a wealth of materials that can be used to stimulate and engage people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

A growing number of Illinois libraries are already offering programs and services directly to this population.  Here are just a few of the things that libraries are doing:

  • Bringing programs to memory care facilities – for one example see Tales & Travel Memories at the Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin (check out the video of the program in action)
  • Hosting Memory Cafes – see Memory Lane Social at the Mokena Community Public Library District
  • Circulating memory kits – see the Forget Me Not Resource Center at the Effingham Public Library

Illinois libraries are banding together to share ideas and expertise in an effort to expand services to persons living with dementia.  Libraries belonging to the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) in northern Illinois have formed a Serving Patrons with Dementia Group that meets quarterly and has a discussion listserv.  This idea has recently been shared with the Illinois Heartland Library System in hopes of involving libraries in the southern part of the state in this discussion.

There is also a national group of librarians who are passionately interested in serving people living with dementia and their care partners.  The Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Interest Group (IGARD) is a part of the American Library Association.

As Illinois communities begin the process of becoming dementia friendly, an invitation to the local library to participate would be of benefit to all.  In addition to contacting the library director, ask to talk with the Outreach Librarian, who may already be involved in reaching out to this too often forgotten population.

Submitted by Mary Beth Riedner, Chair, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Interest Group/American Library Association

New Resource Available on Person Centered Dementia Care in the Hospital Setting

Many older adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, or ADRD, experience preventable hospitalization. It is imperative for care team members, including healthcare professionals and family members, to understand the nuances of providing care within this setting. CATCH-ON staff and partners developed a free online course that covers the following important concepts:

  • Module 1: Common causes of hospitalization and how to best provide person-centered care in the hospital setting.
  • Module 2: Communication considerations that facilitate trust, understanding, and person-centered dementia care. We will also focus on person-centered plans of care and discharge plans for hospitalized individuals living with ADRD.
  • Module 3: Function, safety, and developing a person centered plan of care through discharge from the hospital setting.

Completing all 3 modules provides 1 free CE/CME/CNE or Certificate of Completion. Each set of modules should not take more than 1 hour to complete and can be done in multiple sittings.
Enroll today! Please visit http://www.catch-on.org to complete the modules.