115 Woodmont Blvd. • Nashville, TN 37205 • 615-997-3030

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Staff Training & Management

It is difficult to describe the traditional approach used to train and manage staff because no standard approach has been determined to be effective in dementia care. However, it is known that adult learning is facilitated by specificity and job relevance. At Abe’s Garden, these principles are incorporated into a staff training and management model developed and evaluated by Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging researchers. This model is further evaluated and refined at Abe’s Garden under the supervision of Vanderbilt faculty.

All care staff meet weekly for at least 10-20 minutes to focus on one specific aspect of care provision and learn strategies for improvement.

For example, training materials have been developed describing how to communicate with individuals who have dementia to promote independence and foster their ability to make choices about their daily care. To start, staff watch a brief video illustrating the desired staff behavior. Supervisory observations are conducted the week following the training session to determine if staff is practicing the strategies illustrated in the training. The subsequent weekly session provide staff feedback regarding observed behavior with an opportunity to discuss related matters. A new topic will also be introduced at this time.

Topics to be covered in the weekly staff training sessions include:

  • Fostering a resident’s independence
  • Managing an agitated resident
  • Recognizing side effects of medications (e.g., lethargy, excessive sleepiness)
  • Improving a resident’s food and fluid intake
  • Socially engaging residents throughout the day

The training is weekly and ongoing, as it is designed to address concepts identified as important for maintaining quality of life for residents with dementia. Families may be invited to attend sessions and share strategies that their loved one prefers.

Enhancing Resident-Centered Care

Researchers from the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging recently completed a National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored study that implemented a staff training and management model to enhance resident-centered care provision. Specifically, research staff shared video vignettes of staff-resident interactions during brief, weekly feedback sessions to demonstrate how to provide resident centered care.

Transferring Out of Bed

Choice

No-Choice

Dressing

Choice

No-Choice 

Incontinence Care

Choice

No-Choice 

Dining Location

Choice

No-Choice 

Coupled with the direct caregiver staff training, research staff also trained supervisory staff on how to conduct standardized observations of care for ongoing staff training and management purposes. The training and management model resulted in an increase in the staff provision of choice during morning care for all long-term care residents, including those with dementia.