Author Dr. Atul Gawande Shares How Hospital's 75,000 Employees Stay Safe During Pandemic

You may remember Dr. Atul Gawande as the author of "The Checklist Manifesto" and "Being Mortal" books. He also writes articles for The New Yorker magazine, with his article suggesting hospitals could learn about operating efficiencies by mimicking The Cheesecake Factory gaining a lot of attention. The Cheesecake Factory has a menu with more than 200 items and still manages to get it right, day after day, in all of their locations, because they have a system to follow and accountability. Why can't hospitals do this, too, he asked. His checklist book also showcased how some of the most fatal mistakes at hospitals were because small items were missed.

This makes him a good resource to turn to for how to continue operating efficiently during a worldwide virus pandemic. In his recent article in The New Yorker, "Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reentry", he highlights how his hospital, Mass General Brigham, has managed to keep providing care, with precautions established, during the pandemic. They have a system to follow, even while being located in a hot-spot city during the beginning days of the virus.

Caregivers, too, have been the frontline workers, continuing to care for seniors in their homes during this time, while implementing safety guidelines. It will be important to combat the challenges of pandemic fatigue and learn the best strategies for staying safe as we all come out of the lockdown days. We will all need to keep our checklists to prevent becoming careless with safety measures.

What are the key takeaways from the hospital's coronavirus safety plan? Hand-washing! A 4-part strategy includes:

  1. Screening
  2. Hand-washing
  3. Social Distancing 
  4. Masks

Dr. Guwande notes that frequent hand-washing seems to be a reminder to maintain all of the additional safety protocols. As it is an interactive habit, it reminds you to engage in the other protocols - hands are washed, the mask is back, and keep your distance.

Caregivers arriving in a senior's home will wash their hands and be reminded that they are also wearing their masks and implementing all of their company's safety protocols. Caregiving training courses can be revisited for safe hand-washing tips.

Alzheimer's Caregiver Training for Senior Caregivers

Memory loss for seniors varies, based on the type of forgetfulness they are experiencing. However, Alzheimer's disease has become the most frequent type of memory loss, with some estimates at 80% of all memory loss.

Alzheimer's disease progresses at a different rate for each person which can make the diagnosis initially more difficult.

A medical doctor can provide a senior with a test to find out the type of memory loss they are experiencing. Alzheimer's disease impacts these specific types of memory and confusion:

  • Person
  • Place
  • Time
Online caregiver training will educate you about how to understand the progression of Alzheimer's disease and provide tools for interacting with someone with this type of memory loss.

Senior Care Education

Caregiver education has evolved to become state-specific as senior caregiving services have moved to the home. Senior care has become it's own industry with both state and federal regulations which now include training certification requirements.

Senior care education includes learning about:

  • Communicating with Seniors
  • Age-related Illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
  • Infection Control and Environmental Safety
  • Emergency Game Plan
  • Safe Transfers and Assistance with Activities of Daily Living
  • Personal Care and Toileting 
These are some of the basics that are typically required by each state's health department or social services department across the U.S.A. Senior home care education requirements have not been passed into a federal law. The national association switched gears and began promoting their members to present legislation state-by-state to be passed into law. More than half of the 50 states have passed caregiver training mandates.

Find the state caregiver training requirements in your state and take an online training course to the learn the basic caregiving skills.

Buy Online Training and Maintain Ongoing Access with the Caregiverlist Certified Training courses.

How Immigration Law Will Impact Grandma's Care from this Week's Wall Street Journal

Caregiving jobs are plentiful for many reasons. Seniors don't plan ahead for senior care needs, which can arise suddenly after a medical emergency. Many American still do not realize that caregiving can provide ongoing employment with a professionally licensed senior care and because of this, do not pursue these jobs. Others think they must be a nurse to perform professional caregiving positions.

Right now, there is a shortage of senior caregivers in the U.S.A. and many legal immigrants, or first-Americans, thankfully, have joined our workforce as caregivers. We are so very grateful at Caregiverlist that we have this diversity of employees to help fill senior care company's job openings.

After the knee-replacements, heart by-passes, and age-related illnesses, seniors require caregiving services in order to maintain living a safe quality of life each day. Their families often no longer live nearby.

Caregiverlist includes many first-Americans, or "immigrants" on our job list and caregiver training registry. They are all here legally and employed as caregivers by licensed senior home care agencies. These companies must verify all employees by conducting background checks, finger-printing and in some states, home health registry verification.

Caregiving is hard work. More caregivers are needed. Because also, you know, some people are tough to care for and require multiple caregivers to rotate on a weekly schedule to maintain staffing.

Gerald F. Seib's article in this week's Wall Street Journal, shares some numbers to highlight why having more caregivers must be considered as immigration policies are updated.

  • 1 in 4 Direct-care Workers are First-Americans which means 860,000 immigrants fill these caregiving jobs now
  • This number has grown to 24% in 2015, from 20% in 2005
  • In New York, California, New Jersey and Florida, 40% of the caregiver workers are immigrants
  • Among these immigrant caregiver workers nationwide, 56% are citizens by naturalization

Not having enough workers has the potential to drive up care costs.

Do you know someone who could work as a part-time or full-time senior caregiver? No experience is required and they can obtain online training for all of the beginning caregiver skills. Please refer them to the Caregiverlist' Career Center to learn more and submit a job application.

Find caregiver training requirements in your state.

Caregiver Guide to Identifying Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse impacts people of all ages and can become a hidden danger in the elderly population. Many aspects of aging are difficult as you begin to lose some of your capabilities and your life-long friends are passing away. One martini or one glass of wine to help relax at the end of the day can easily lead to another and another until an addiction develops. It is important for seniors to develop a healthy way to deal with the natural stresses that come with growing older.

Senior caregivers are often the only person a senior needing care will see every day and can learn how to identify if a senior has a drug or alcohol abuse problem.

People often mistakenly think that seniors have passed the danger zone for addiction simply by growing older. However, the Baby Boomer generation may be even more at risk as they age. Remember that some Americans who are Boomers grew up in the highly experimental drug culture of the 60's.

Signs and Symptoms of Elderly Addiction

One of the reasons why elderly addiction goes unnoticed is because the symptoms are easily mistaken for other symptoms associated with aging. For example, someone with the following symptoms may have a problem with addiction:

  • Confusion

  • Memory loss

  • Lack of balance

  • Slurred speech

  • Social isolation

  • Depression

Each one of these symptoms could be associated with a condition related to aging or with aging in general and this is where the challenge presents itself for caregivers. Caregiver training allows a senior caregiver to identify addiction issues in order to begin the intervention process.

Fortunately, there are other ways to spot drug and alcohol addiction in the aging population.

How to Spot Addiction in Senior Adults

Although many of the symptoms could be confused or explained away, caregivers should have cause for concern if the person in their care exhibits multiple symptoms.

If you notice any of the following signs in addition to any symptoms above, you may be dealing with a substance abuse problem.

  • Hiding pills or alcohol – Anyone who is addicted is likely to hide the problem, so look for signs that the person in your care is hiding something. Look for empty bottles hidden in their room or buried in the trash.

  • Erratic behavior – As a caregiver, you’re already going to be looking for signs that the person in your care is in good health. This makes it likely that you’ll be the one to spot addiction before anyone else. Although your patient or loved one may take multiple medications, look for signs that they are intoxicated. This may manifest as a change in their behavior, such as detachment, increased energy, exceptional moodiness or even giddiness.

  • Sudden onset of isolation or depression – If you’ve been caring for the same person for a while, you probably have a very clear knowledge of their daily routine. If their routine suddenly begins to change or you discover they are isolating themselves for no apparent reason, this could indicate a problem with addiction.

If the person in your care has access to alcohol or addictive prescriptions, it’s very important to watch out for signs of addiction. Alcohol and prescription drug medication addictions are increasing in the elderly population, and it can pose an extreme danger to their health and to others. As we get older, our bodies don't metabolize things as well as they once did. This can cause an elderly person to become intoxicated sooner than they may anticipate. If possible, talk to your patient or loved one about the dangers of addiction, especially at this point in their lives.

Caregiver Renewal Training for Professional Senior Caregivers

Senior caregivers working as professionals in most states are required to have annual training. This just helps to make sure the caregiver has continued to maintain their knowledge of caregiving skills. In addition, caregivers are able to advance their caregiving options and career by demonstrating knowledge in additional areas.

Senior care companies can enroll caregiver in a renewal training course on the Caregiverlist Training Portal with 1-click and senior caregivers and family caregivers may also purchase training on their own for $59 or $79 (to receive a lapel pin and t-shirt).

Buy the online caregiver training course and you will be enrolled in your renewal course automatically or, call 312-669-8820 if you have any questions about the certified caregiver training for your state. 

California Caregiver Renewal Training for Senior Care

Senior caregivers in California now must maintain their professional caregiving skills with annual renewal training.

California renewal training requires 5 hours each year focusing on:

Core Competencies

Age-Related Caregiving Skills

Caregiverlist's certified caregiver training allows caregivers to easily renew their training by enrolling them in the next course and allowing caregivers to review previous training.

Built for senior caregivers by industry professionals, the online course is smart-phone friendly and easy to use and best of all, written for caregivers who may not have a medical background and incorporating the skills needed for senior home care.

Caregivers may join "the P.A.C.", the Professional Association of Caregivers and receive a lapel pin and t-shirt with their training course. Buy your online training and maintain access to your course materials ongoing and apply to a job in your area.

Caregiver Buddy App for Caregivers

Alzheimer's caregivers now have a new friend to support them through their caregiving journey. Alzheimer's disease progresses through stages, or levels, as the forgetting eventually impacts all of the body's functions. The changes in the senior's personality can be especially stressful for caregivers. This is why having a "digital" buddy helps you to stay on the best path for each day of the Alzheimer's caregiver journey.

Caregiver Buddy App allows caregivers to access:

24/7 Alzheimer's Helpline

Daily Care Tips for Tasks Related to Hygiene and Meal Times

Fun Activity Ideas to Stimulate Body and Mind

Behavior Coping Tips for Overwhelming Behaviors of Aggression and Hallucination

Refresher about Alzheimer's Disease

COST:  Free

The Caregiver Buddy App was developed by the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Illinois Chapter.

Alzheimer's caregivers can also take notes on the App to maintain daily care notes and quickly access care information.

Caregivers will be presented with the App's capabilities upon starting it and prompted to view the search function and notes section and given instructions on how to navigate the Caregiver Buddy.

Caregivers will then choose a topic, such as Wellbeing or Communication and then be provided with more information on the topic. This App can be a nice accompaniment to the Caregiver Basic Training which explains the different types of memory loss, including Alzheimer's disease.

Senior caregivers please give us your feedback on the Caregiver Buddy App.
Know about any additional caregiver Apps that excel at assisting with caregiving duties? Let us know. 

Enter to Win: $25 gift card by sharing your caregiver certificate on Instagram or retweeting our Stress Relief Photo of the week.

Caregiver Training Materials for Senior Care

What training materials are used for senior caregivers?

Caring for seniors involves assisting with physical and emotional needs along with practical household scheduling and maintenance. State laws require caregivers to understand how to identify elder abuse and to maintain privacy according to the Health Information Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA).

Understanding how to record Care Plan notes and follow guidelines for daily activities allows professional caregivers working in the home to deliver the same high quality care as seniors in care communities.

Basic Caregiver Training incorporates the senior care training materials as outlined by the national association of home care and as passed into legislation in certain states.

Caregiver Training Materials Include:

  • Sample Care Plan Notes
  • Suggested Books and Movies
  • Orientation to Caregiver Job Duties and Professional Guidelines
  • Safety for Environment and for Emergencies
  • Safe Transfers
  • Communication Skills
  • Privacy Requirements
  • Identify and Report Elder Abuse
  • Chronic Condition Introduction: Strokes, Memory Loss, Cancer
Learn about the Caregiver Training requirements in your state and take the online caregiver training course to be a certified caregiver.

Join the Professional Association of Caregiver to receive online training and a t-shirt and lapel pin and more.

Caregivers Should be Paid More and Better Trained to Lower Senior Care Costs MIT Professor Reports

Senior caregivers should have more training and better pay in order to deliver higher quality care to seniors, according to MIT Sloan School of Management professor Paul Osterman. who has authored "Who Will Care for Us? Long-Term Care and the Long-Term Workforce".

Long-term care support services cost Americans $310 billion a year, accounting for both Medicaid care and private payments. As Medicare does not pay for long-term senior care services (only for short-term nursing home stays for rehabilitation), all Americans must pay privately unless they spend down their assets and qualify for Medicaid, for low-income seniors with few assets.

More numbers:

  • 14 million Americans needed long-term care in 2015
  • 22 million Americans will need long-term care by 2030

As home care aides are limited regarding some of the services they can administer, with eye-drops used as the example in Mr. Osterman's recent Wall Street Journal opinion article, services must pay for the additional cost for a Registered Nurse to drop in and perform these regulated tasks.

However home caregivers spend the most time with the senior and can easily be trained to do some of the tasks they are now limited from doing. The improved training could also include learning more about chronic diseases. As technology now allows us to use Apps to monitor many conditions, there are many opportunities available to develop more hands-on training skills for home caregivers. And if this lowers the cost of home care and delivers higher quality care, then why not? 

Caregiver training skills which we call "basic caregiver training' encompass the minimum standards for quality care delivery, such as learning how to safely transfer a senior from bed to wheelchair, understanding how to record proper care plan notes and follow the HIPAA privacy law and understand how to communicate with different generations. Training for stroke survivor care, Alzheimer's disease care and more are part of ongoing annual training renewals. Caregiver training varies in each state, based on health department regulations, but most licensed senior home care agencies are required to provide basic caregiver training. Medicaid home health aides are required to take initial training and annual training and this also varies depending on the state's requirements.

As seniors will be living longer than previous generations ever imagined, it makes sense to modernize the training for senior care.

Free caregiver training briefs are available to all caregivers on Caregiverlist as an introduction to the training required for caregiver certification.

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