244008 Dementia care training in nursing homes: A policy perspective

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM

Lené Levy-Storms, PhD, MPH , Department of Social Welfare, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Nursing home staffs are undertrained to care for residents with dementia, especially certified nursing aides (CNAs) who provide 90% of direct care to nursing home residents with dementia. Recent health care reform law under the Obama Administration has general provisions to increase dementia care training, but it remains unclear how to specifically train CNAs to optimize the quality of care and quality of life of long-stay nursing home residents with dementia. An estimated 9 to 30% of persons with dementia live in nursing homes, but 70% of persons who die from dementia do so in nursing homes. Nursing home residents' with dementia mortality rates peak within six months after admission, and such rates are not fully explained by physical causes. Thus, nursing home residents' unmet physical and/or emotional needs with dementia may propel agitation and other behavioral problems that, in turn, represent major challenges to CNAs. Until the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, behavioral restraints were the primary but inappropriate resource for reducing agitation. Now, inappropriate use of medication such as atypical antipsychotics is a major issue. Policy options for how CNAs could be trained in communication techniques to emotionally connect with residents during care will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
To describe dementia-related behavioral problems in relation to unmet physical and emotional needs To define the need for dementia care training as a communication issue To assess options for improving dementia care training with communication techniques

Keywords: Dementia, Nursing Homes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct empirical and policy research on dementia care training in long-term care settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.