Acquiring the proper form of care for a loved one living with dementia can seem overwhelming and often times hopeless. All methods of rehabilitation are not created equally, which is why finding experienced, compassionate, and effective health care providers is an essential step on the road to a better quality of life for all.
The Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA®) in Dementia Care seeks to prepare health care workers with the knowledge, understanding, and skill to deliver person-centered dementia care through interactive hands-on training. GPA has been a staple at Hamilton Health Sciences since 2010 when the Centre for Healthcare Optimization Research and Delivery (CHORD) funded the education of all clinical and support staff at the Juravinski and Hamilton General hospitals. To date over 1,600 HHS employees have completed the GPA program.
“Staff at our hospital site have participated in GPA workshops for 10 years now,” says Esther Coker, clinical nurse specialist, Medically Complex Care, St. Peter’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences.
“It was very rewarding at our recent GPA Recharged sessions to hear staff, who attended a prior GPA workshop, describe the impact of their ongoing practice of GPA and its relevance in their daily care of patients. Many spoke of being able to enter the world of their patients, look beyond the behaviors they were seeing, and respond to the patients’ underlying emotions, such as loneliness and fear. They gave examples of validating these feelings, rather than dismissing them, and then went on to explain how they joined in their patients’ reality and often successfully redirected them before their behaviors escalated.”
The Advanced Gerontological Education department (based at St. Peter’s hospital) is getting set to launch the 3rd Edition of training in 2015 called, Gentle Persuasive Approaches to Dementia Care: Supporting Persons with Responsive Behaviors. The 3rd Edition of GPA is a comprehensive program offering educational training for health care workers on personhood, brain changes associated with dementia, communication skills, and behavior management techniques. Case studies also provide participants with an opportunity to apply their new skills to respond quickly and effectively to challenging behaviors.
The updated program features streamlined manuals and education tools for health care providers –including whiteboard animations, updated techniques photos, new video demonstrations, supportive graphics and visuals, concise module summaries, embedded video clips and a number of additional support tools. Although the GPA program has undergone multiple updates since its first introduction, the goal of the program remains the same: assist care providers to develop confidence in their ability to provide compassionate and safe dementia care during a patients’ behavioral episodes.
“The introduction of GPA to the acute care setting at Hamilton Health Sciences has significantly increased the confidence and competence in our staff when caring for patients with dementia and/or responsive behaviors,” says Karen Robinson, clinical manager, Oncology and Hematology, Juravinski Hospital Cancer Centre, Hamilton Health Sciences.
“Our staff have had the opportunity to learn how to manage these behaviors in a respectful and caring way and use fewer physical or mechanical restraints, whenever possible. The new modules have also introduced discussions involving patients suffering with acute delirium. Based on our staff feedback, I am confident this program has provided our staff with the knowledge and tools required to support challenging behaviors and provide an appropriate plan of care to provide the best patient outcome.”
For further information on GPA and the launch of the 3rd Edition, please visit www.ageinc.ca.