This is Part two of a two-part series on Dementia Care Specialists and Earning a Dementia Care Specialization. You can read Part one here.
Since the signing of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) in 2011 there has been an ever-increasing demand for a dementia care specialized workforce spanning all staffing levels and across the care continuum—from acute care to senior living and home health care. Today you see myriad dementia training programs and curricula, as well as businesses promoting their dementia care specialization.
And demand will continue to increase as the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias accelerates in the years ahead.
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But Let’s Be Clear.

“Dementia Care Specialist” does not have a cut-and-dried definition—in fact it can mean very different things based on its origin. I highly encourage you to go beyond what is quickly becoming an overused term to understand its true meaning in each unique situation. It is important to understand what a person or organization means by “specialization,” the training involved, and how a dementia care credential is earned. I encourage you to use a question list like the one below.
(Note: I tailored the question list to someone seeking training and a specialist credential, but you can ask similar questions if you are seeking services from a business or individual. In addition, Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute provides Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training, with a Dementia Capable Care Specialist credential upon successful completion. Therefore, the responses focus on our training program and credentialing.)
Who is the intended audience? What role(s) is the training most applicable for? Our Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training has been designed for anyone who works in health care—from nurses and therapists to frontline staff. It is the perfect first step to ensure that everyone understands the basics of person-centered dementia care and nonpharmacological distress behavior management.
What will I learn? What advanced knowledge and skills will I gain? The purpose of the program is to build the knowledge and skills needed to enable those who are living with dementia to engage in meaningful activities at their best ability, and to reduce the frequency and severity of distress behaviors.
What outcomes can be expected as a result? Those who attend begin to establish a common understanding, philosophy, and framework that the interdisciplinary team can use to facilitate positive outcomes at your workplace. Attendees will learn a person-centered, best abilities approach to understanding stages of dementia and how to promote emotional well-being and best ability to function at every stage.
Is the training curriculum evidence-based? Yes. Our training includes our CPI Dementia Capable Care Model that is based on principles of person-centered care and the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Model to help you deliver person-centered, dementia-capable care. This focus ensures that all people, including those with dementia, remain active participants in life at their best ability level, and helps to maintain their dignity, vitality, and individuality.
How is the specialization earned and what does it mean? CPI’s Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training offers a Dementia Capable Care Specialist credential. Earning the credential requires you to pass a course that consists of approximately seven hours of training, including application work. When someone earns this credential, they will have demonstrated an understanding of all the core content, as evidenced by their participation in the class and passing a written post-test.
We also offer the opportunity to become a Certified Instructor of our Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training program. You must complete an instructor certification course that includes a teach-back, then pass a written test.

It’s About More Than a Credential.

Dementia care training is vital, and credentials and titles are nice to earn. But in my opinion, what is most important to determine is the quality and scope of the training program and the impact it could have on your care skills—needed for your role—for those you serve. Take the time to do your homework to discover what is best for you. There are very general dementia training programs and there are those like Dementia Capable Care, 2nd Edition Training from CPI that utilize evidence-based care models and offer how-to frameworks woven throughout every aspect of the program. Remember it is important to make comparisons as one dementia care training program and one dementia care specialist credential is likely very different from the other.

It is our hope that a high quality, passionate, and specialized dementia care workforce rises to meet the growing demand to enable those living with dementia to thrive. Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute is here to help make it a reality.

Author Bio

Kim Warchol, OTR/L is President and Founder of Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute. 

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