Alzheimer’s Training





     Julie Picard at Bellamy and Michelle O’Brien at Watson are the coordinators for our staff development and training efforts in general and particularly for nursing staff around dementia care.


     People are staying home longer in the course their dementias and consequently coming to the Fields in later stages of the illnesses as well as when other medical conditions arise and make home life unsafe.


     In response, we are committing more dollars and more hours to train staff for the psychiatric and medical skills needed to keep the same quality of care but with more effort all around.


     Years ago, uncomplicated Alzheimer’s (as if there is such a thing) was the focus at Bellamy. With Watson, we added medical and end-of-life expertise and in 2016, the 100 guests are arriving with or developing several problems to deal with at the same time.


     The growth of assisted living in general has strained the labor pool and prompted us to focus on internal training rather than outside recruiting. The hours involved often amount to three weeks of training before staff begins to work on their own.


     The dollars total a couple thousand per person. Salary for the new staff, supervision and mentoring by the training staff, hours on the dementia training by computer and orientation to all three shifts to understand the “24/7” nature of the business add up quickly.


     We think it’s worth it. The assisted living world has changed and people getting into the business thinking that it’s like a bed and breakfast for old people are in for a shock.


     Especially for residents with advanced Alzheimer’s and related disorders, the psychological, emotional and physical attention they need for maximum quality of life requires skills that didn’t exist in the past.


     Bellamy and Watson are responding to the challenges of complex care levels this year which will prepare us for the people coming in the next five years. American medicine is running out of curative resources as society ages and the intersection of cure and cope is looming.


     It’s hard to give up the glamour of the cure…scientists are remembered, even immortalized, for FINDING THE CURE…


      We are going quietly about our business which is learning to cope.






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