As an increasing number of older adults are diagnosed with dementia, health-care providers need to be ready to work with patients with memory loss. The College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) is helping students prepare for their careers by offering dementia care training for radiologic technology students during the fall semester. The College’s respiratory therapy students will take the training in the spring.
Students are learning about the different stages of dementia and how to work with a patient’s key remaining abilities for each stage. “This training takes a positive approach to caring for people with dementia,” said Claudia Oakes, associate professor of health sciences, who conducted the training. “Clinicians who know how to tap into the patient’s remaining strengths will be able to communicate with them better and get better results.”
The students who participate in the training have started their clinical placements, so they’ve already seen patients with dementia who can become confused or frightened during radiography procedures, Oakes said. “Students said the training helped them understand the behavior they were seeing and learn how to respond to it. Helping patients have a calm experience results in better images, which means a better diagnosis.”
Students complete eight hours of hands-on training and lectures and must pass a test to receive their dementia care certification, which is valid for two years. Oakes is a certified trainer through the Crisis Prevention Institute, which specializes in dementia care training for health-care professionals.
ENHP will also offer a three-credit course on Dementia and Aging in the spring semester as part of its new interdisciplinary minor in gerontology.