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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | March 14, 2011

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Trains New York Nursing Students in Dementia Care
Organization Hopes to Expand Model Program to Other Schools Nationwide

NEW YORK, NY – Recognizing the value of a head start in dementia care training to prepare nursing students for the expected surge in the number of interactions with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) recently teamed up with the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing in New York to educate its students about the brain disorder and best practices in care.

AFA’s training and membership division, Dementia Care Professionals of America, recently provided the DVD-based program and class discussion at no cost to 160 undergraduate and graduate students. All of the students passed an exam and earned the status of AFA Qualified Dementia Care Provider.

This marked the first time that DCPA provided on-site training to an entire class of nursing students—a model that it now hopes to expand to other schools across the country.

“It is imperative that we train the future generation of nurses in order to address this escalating health crisis,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO. “We applaud the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing for recognizing the importance of this training and encourage others to follow their lead to move dementia care forward.”

DCPA addresses a problem of growing proportion in the United States: as many as 5.1 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is expected to triple by mid-century in line with the high-risk aging population. Yet industry experts project a severe shortfall in geriatric healthcare professionals, and knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease, treatment options and practical issues often falls short of what is required to properly care for people with this disease and to assist their family members.

DCPA has trained more than 5,500 professionals since AFA founded the division in 2004.

The organization was able to offer the free, daylong training at Hunter-Bellevue as part of a grant awarded to AFA by the New York State Department of Health, Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Adult Health.

Presented in a practical and user-friendly fashion, the program provides essential information for the safe and effective care of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. It covers a basic understanding of dementia; management of activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and prevention of falls; management of behavioral problems, including aggression, nighttime wandering and sexually inappropriate behavior; and principles of basic care.

“The students loved it and learned a lot,” said Catherine D'Amico, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor and director of undergraduate nursing programs at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, the flagship nursing school of the City University of New York.

The nursing student training follows on the heels last year of another pilot program in which DCPA trained nurses and paraprofessionals at Glen Cove Hospital in Glen Cove, NY.

Typically, healthcare professionals take the DVD-based program individually as a distance learning program. The comprehensive program is geared toward all levels of healthcare professionals, including home health aides, certified nursing assistants, social workers, nurses and physicians. Completion of Series 1 results in designation as an AFA Qualified Dementia Care Provider, and completion of the more advanced Series 2 earns the status of AFA Dementia Care Specialist. The program is based on the Dementia Education and Training Program, the official statewide training program authorized in Alabama. For more information, visit www.careprofessionals.org.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484

Alzheimer's Foundation of America  866.232.8484
www.alzfdn.org