A Decision Made to Forward Our Mission
I thought it made sense to share with our online community members a bit more about the new relationship DCS has embarked on with the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). This is a big step forward for DCS and the mission we covet so deeply. To write about anything else this month…well it just seemed…..wrong. Therefore, I decided to mark this special event with an article for you, our valued online community members, dedicated solely to this topic.
As you know DCS has a heartfelt mission which is "to provide dementia consultation, training, and products to improve the quality of life and function of those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias." We recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary and are most proud of the fact that we have provided training to over 4000 professionals during those 10 years. We always have tears in our eyes when we think about the many lives touched by the professionals who left our trainings with new information, inspiration, and hope.
However . . . we also know the significant challenge every learner faces in successfully transferring the new and complex knowledge into their fast-paced work environments that are often mired in the medical model. This is no easy task. In a nutshell this challenge is what dominated my thinking as I pondered the decision to partner with CPI. How could we best enable those who attend our trainings to apply what they learn? CPI is the answer.
Learning Transfer Prioritized
Training is not the same as learning. DCS, I believe, has been a very good training company. In our 10 years we have done our best to provide excellent training materials and offerings for those working in dementia care. However, there is a science, a real expertise in taking training to the next step which is transference.
Successful training transfer occurs when a learner applies knowledge obtained to a future situation or problem. CPI is expert at understanding how to create training programs that enhance learning transfer. Therefore my decision was relatively easy, as this has been one of the areas we have been focusing on within our trainings in recent years.
When a therapist or other team member such as CNA, nurse, or activity leader participates in our training, the feedback is almost always positive and we see the individual leave with enthusiasm. When they return to the work environment the challenges of application begin.
- The day-to-day operations and culture of the work environment begin to collide with the training principles, perspectives, and philosophy. With the collision comes challenges for the learners as they attempt to implement the new knowledge in a work world that may not offer adequate support. This may lead to diminishing enthusiasm with little connection to the training material over time. Therefore, two training goals are to empower the learner in the classroom with a high degree of understanding and confidence and to offer training and consult for the interdisciplinary team in which there is continuity of training principles and concepts.
- Application of the training principles and techniques is in and of itself challenging. How well did the learner understand the principles and techniques shared in the classroom? Can this understanding transfer into application during patient evaluation, treatment/care sessions, and documentation? The learner needs opportunity to practice and receive feedback. Without this, the application may be inaccurate and may fade over time. Therefore trainings will be most effective if they are not a "one and done." The more opportunity the learner has to practice and to receive feedback from the expert, the greater opportunity for real learning in which the information is used accurately and applied to all day-to-day work functions.
With this awareness of the challenges a new learner faces, we at DCS have been adding to our products, tools, and training offerings throughout the years to help learners further their understanding and expertise and to help apply the knowledge. An example of an offering to address this challenge is this online community. This partnership with CPI reflects our continued emphasis on enabling the learner to experience successful learning transfer.
If an organization spends $1 on training and there is zero transfer of the training information, then it was $1 poorly spent. Obviously, this is not a good outcome, and we at DCS and CPI are clear about the training components that will facilitate the best outcomes. The new partnership between DCS and CPI will help assure three very important training goals are achievable:
- Maximize the return on the training investment.
- Provide therapists and others serving those with ADRD with the knowledge to enhance their effectiveness and job satisfaction.
- Enable those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to thrive!
We Are Excited About the Future
In our new partnership with CPI, our deeply rooted training principles using the Cognitive Disabilities Model developed by Claudia Allen, the Theory of Retrogenesis by Dr. Barry Reisberg, and the Person-First Model by Dr. Thomas Kitwood for evaluation, treatment, and care remain our cornerstone. However, our training methods and offerings will continue to be enhanced in order to facilitate the best opportunity for successful application and transfer.
Our vision is for all those who have Alzheimer’s and related dementias to LIVE a quality life. This vision becomes closer to reality via our new partnership with CPI. For those of you who know me, you know my work is very intertwined with my life purpose. Therefore, to make the decision to work with and entrust "my baby" to someone else was difficult. The good news is my first few weeks working with CPI have been very affirming as I brainstorm with the many diverse, expert team members within this caring, accomplished organization.
DCS is proud to be a division of CPI. DCS is proud to be your training partner. I am honored to be an advocate for those with ADRD. I am excited about the potential to impact many more lives.