Arbor Terrace Citrus Park was recently selected as one of 25 long-term care providers to participate in a specialized training for dementia care. The five-week event titled Project ECHO is hosted by the Florida Assisted Living Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association. Training sessions began on Oct. 6 and consist of weekly Zoom calls.
Teresa Covelli, executive director at Arbor Terrace Citrus Park, said the team got involved by submitting information about COVID-19 challenges and how they implemented ideas to address them. During the initial session, the community team was the first to present a case study to the participant group. Teresa talked with training participants about family visits and how to better handle physical affection and safety in the time of COVID-19. The Community team also shared how they screen families and practice safety.
“We use a private room for family visits, and everyone must wear a mask,” Teresa said. “We also are continuously coming up with creative ways residents can connect with family, such as having hand sanitizer so they can hold hands.”
Staff who work with people living with dementia need additional training related to the cognitive challenges residents face, Teresa said. The approach needs to be person-centered, and the staff is encouraged to get to know residents personally since everybody is different.
After completing each session, Teresa and the team discussed how they can incorporate learnings into their routines and community. The training continues through Nov. 3 and will address topics such as nutrition, communication and behavior, building upon the Arbor Company’s existing broad dementia training programs.
“Residents need meaningful engagement and caring relationships,” Covelli said. “We’re always looking at our practices and finding ways to improve for both better care and longer stays.”