New International Caregivers Association (ICA) Changes the Course of Dementia Care

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The newly formed International Caregivers Association (ICA) has created a revolutionary dementia-care program that will reduce the cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias while simultaneously improving their quality of life. Now the association is sharing this program so caregivers around the world can learn highly effective techniques they can begin to practice within minutes.

The ICA's member-based model is dedicated to promoting compassionate, high-quality standards of care for patients, whether they are living at home or in any type of care facility around the world. By providing a forum that offers training and support to family caregivers, doctors, nurses, administrators, and students, ICA aims to change the way dementia care is delivered worldwide.

When ICA founder Ethelle Lord's husband, Larry Potter, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease more than a decade ago, she found herself thrust into an unfamiliar world, realizing she was not prepared to handle the changes that were taking place in Larry or how his condition would affect the rest of their family. Learning on the job, Lord discovered techniques and practices that can reduce stress in patients and caregivers alike, and in 2012 delivered a keynote speech, called "Yes Virginia, You Can Have an Alzheimer's Friendly Healthcare Experience," to a large audience of neurologists from around the globe.

Lord's experience led her to create ICA, which aims to change the world of dementia care by:

  1. Clearly communicating its mission of compassion, education, and advocacy; empowering all stakeholders—those who provide care and those who receive care; improving dementia care, whether it is provided in the smallest of families or the largest of long-term care facilities.

"We all have an urgent need to raise the dementia care IQ," Lord said. "When it comes to healthcare costs for Alzheimer's/dementia, the numbers are simply staggering. An undertrained dementia care workforce means more work and more money for everyone, lower quality of care and life, and puts all of society at risk."

The heart of ICA's vision and mission, she said, is to provide training and support to change dementia care in ways that will improve the quality of life for patients and reduce the economic and social strain on caregivers. ICA's philosophy is to connect elements of care and practice, confront and address problems in dementia care, encourage interprofessional healthcare teams that include family caregivers, and help ensure that professional caregivers are genuinely well-informed about best-care practices.

One of the first steps in that process is to provide video training materials through the ICA website that will allow caregivers anywhere in the world to develop and deliver quality dementia care. "Videos are certain to inspire someone who has little time but wants great value and tips in dementia care to adopt immediately," Lord said.

ICA videos and training selections demonstrate time- and cost-effective techniques that can improve a patient's quality of life when implemented by doctors, nurses, family members and staff in hospitals or long-term care facilities. These include:

  • >>How to speak the language of Alzheimer's to communicate better and with more ease; the basics of this lesson can be learned in about 20 minutes through ICA materials.
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  • >>How to brush the teeth of someone with dementia in a way that will reduce resistance; this everyday practice is important to avoid additional health problems for patients.

  • >>How to transfer a loved one from home to long-term care seamlessly to that the person will not recognize a transfer has occurred, reducing stress and grief for everyone involved.

 

These lessons and many more are available to ICA members on its website, making the training available around the world. "Everyone will find several benefits to joining ICA," Lord said. For one low fee, members will have access to demonstrations from renowned dementia-care trainers on the ICA webinar platform, which provides easy access to dementia care solutions attended from home, office, or workplace.

For example, ICA training covers a broad spectrum of dementia care—including teaching an individual caregiver how to bathe a patient; training a caregiver to become an Alzheimer's/dementia coach who can encourage best-care practices in others, and helping administrators and owners of assisted living facilities create and analyze metrics that will improve services, lower costs, and attract more clients.

The ICA seeks to answer these questions: How in the world? Now what do I do? Susan Horvath, of Ontario, Canada, leads the international ICA team of members representing all six regions of the world. To join or to serve as a volunteer on the International ICA Team for your region, go to icareassoc.com/.

 

SOURCE International Caregivers Association