Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Get Community Care staff dementia care-ready with courses at St Luke’s Hospital


Losing your memory or forgetting to do simple tasks can be frightening and confusing. For persons living with dementia, the ability to remember, think or make decisions may be impaired to the extent where it interferes with daily life and activities.

The condition may also affect one’s relationship with the people around them. Families who take care of loved ones with dementia sometimes grapple with providing the right care and support. Hence, it’s important for Community Care workers to help caregivers support the needs of persons living with dementia and care for them.

This is something that St Luke’s Hospital (SLH) aims to address.

Why healthcare staff should enhance their dementia care skills

"One of the key aspects of dementia is that an individual loses memory and with that, their identity of self. Through education and training for healthcare professionals, St Luke’s Hospital aims to build dementia care knowledge and capability in the community setting to maintain the dignity and health of persons living with dementia, keep them meaningfully engaged, and also empower their caregivers to support their loved ones with dementia,” said Yvonne Lau, Deputy Director, St Luke’s Academy.

As such, it is important for healthcare staff in the community setting to enhance their dementia care and management skills. All too often, early assessment, intervention and treatment can slow the progression of the disease and maintain clients’ quality of life.

Even Community Care workers who have experience in dementia care can benefit from enrolling in a course, as Nor Azhar Bin Sa'at, 37, discovered. The Community Care nurse at NTUC Health has experience in caring for persons living with dementia, but still faced challenges in managing certain behaviours or finding suitable activities for persons with dementia under his care.

To provide better care for his clients and support their caregivers, Azhar enrolled in SLH’s dementia care course. “It provided a well-rounded perspective in the management of persons living with dementia and their caregivers,” he said. The online course was co-presented by a family physician, an occupational therapist and medical social worker, providing a well-rounded look at dementia care. “While it was conducted online, I felt very well supported in my learning through the interactive segments and activities,” said Azhar.

The course was useful for Azhar because it helped him identify common pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. He also learned to apply a streamlined thought process to possible behaviours of concern, by first assessing possible triggers and tapping on a process of elimination to manage and de-escalate situations.

What else can care professionals learn at the Dementia care course at SLH? Hear from Erin Toh, 29, Senior Programme Development Executive at Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore).

Becoming Dementia Care-ready! (Face-to-Face and Online)

“The principles and frameworks from this course, such as person-centred care, VIPS framework and the Enriched Model, are important concepts that guide me in planning programmes to adequately address the needs of our service users who are living with dementia,” she said.

This course equips care professionals with seven core competencies to support persons with dementia. At the end of the course, participants would have learned dementia care management practices that will help them assess, assist and support the well-being of persons living with dementia and their caregivers.

For Erin, the course helped her in planning programmes that address the needs of persons living with dementia.

She recommends the course to healthcare professionals to empower them to re-evaluate their current practices and assumptions, and plan programmes that best fit their clients’ needs and desires, based on best practices and current evidence in dementia care.

Visit the AIC’s Learning Network Course Marketplace website for the complete list of courses available from SLH. Under the “All Learning Institutes” drop-down list, select “Learning Institute – St Luke’s Hospital (SLH)”.

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