February 14-21 is Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week. This week brings awareness to the importance of properly training individuals from a variety of fields. Whether you are a health care provider, 911 operator, first responder, clergy member, elder care attorney, or have another role working with the elderly, this week focuses on the importance of comprehensive dementia education.
Beyond educating individuals beyond those in mental and physical health care about the importance of dementia education, the week also shines a spotlight on caregivers supporting individuals with these diagnoses.
Some resources for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care
The National Institute on Aging is the primary government agency conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. The association’s website offers resources for caregivers as well as those living with Alzheimer’s.
The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) provides resources, including seminars and training. NCCDP members may download a free Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week toolkit from their website.
Need help assessing for neurocognitive impairment?
Patients with neurocognitive impairment such as dementia are often unreliable reporters of their symptoms. An observer—such as a family member, friend, or home health care nurse—can often provide valuable insight into an individual’s functioning. The Older Adult Cognitive Screener™ (OACS™) is a quick informant rating scale that helps provide information on a patient’s mental status and determine if there is a need for more in-depth testing. Learn more about the OACS.
The Dementia Rating Scale–2™ (DRS-2™) measures mental status in individuals with cognitive impairment. It assesses an individual’s mental status over time.
More than 640,000 children and adolescents visit the emergency room each year for concerns related to traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI can have a negative impact on an individual’s learning and memory, affecting educational attainment in school and beyond. New research on TBI provides more insight into its effect on children and adolescents.
Just-published research in the journal Assessment provides evidence of clinical utility of the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile (ChAMP; Sherman & Brooks, 2015) as part of a more comprehensive evaluation of traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents. The ChAMP assesses visual and verbal memory that allows for both in-depth evaluation and memory screening.
Kate Wilson, Sofia Lesica, and Jacobus Donders from the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan assessed 61 children and adolescents with TBI using the ChAMP within 1 to 12 months after injury. They found that most ChAMP index scores demonstrated significant negative correlations with time to follow commands following TBI. After comparing ChAMP scores to a matched control group, they found that individuals with TBI had statistically significantly lower scores on all indexes, though sensitivity and specificity were suboptimal.
The researchers concluded that the ChAMP has modest utility as part of a comprehensive evaluation of TBI in children and adolescents. Learn more about their research or learn more about the ChAMP.