In Service Staff Development and Continuing Education – We are in the processing of filing an application with the New York State Education Department in order to become an approved provider to offer continuing education classes to Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). As of January 1, 2015, all LMSWs and LCSWs need to complete 36 hours of continuing education. Our free program is an excellent opportunity to bring awareness to social workers throughout New York, particularly those who work in nursing homes and hospitals. The topics will focus on the differences between Lewy Body Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, the importance of knowing which medications are inappropriate for LBD persons, what type of physical and occupational therapy works best, as well as the effects the disease has on family members.
An adaptation of this curriculum will be taught in hospitals throughout New York at their weekly “grand round” meetings. Grand rounds, which are an important tool of medical education and inpatient care, offer the perfect space to discuss the differences between related dementias and Parkinson’s disease. At these meetings, the medical problems and care of Lewy Body patients are presented to doctors, residents, and medical students. Other healthcare professionals are, in turn, kept up-to-date on important aspects of the disease which may be outside of their core practice.
A modified version of our presentation will be presented to home health aides and certified nurse’s assistants at nursing homes and hospitals, as well as at home health agencies. We will be working with individual agencies to train their aides on the different symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia and the best way to take care of people with the disease. Most aides, as well as health care professionals, relate to people with LBD as though they are the same as persons with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s. As LBD is quite different, and misunderstood, it is crucial that they learn that fluctuations and hallucinations are a hallmark of the disease and need to be handled in specific ways.
Speaking engagements are easily arranged at medical centers, community centers, assisted living residences, senior citizen centers, and other opportune places to speak about the differences between normal aging and the early signs of Lewy Body Dementia, as well as behavioral approaches to care.