Assisted living facilities are institutions built for clients that do not need round-the-clock medical care but who do need some help with the completion of daily activities. Although the facilities are important in these institutions, it is the presence of human caregivers that really makes the lives of the residents easier to a large degree. Assisted living caregivers need to be trained in a diverse range of fields in order to help their clients safely, efficiently, and compassionately.
Although assisted living facilities exist for people of all ages, this article will focus on the training given to caregivers working with people over the age of 70. Here is a quick guide to some of the kinds of training assisted living caregivers undertake.
Assisted living caregivers must be trained on the compliance requirements set out by the federal government, the state, and the institution where they work. There are many rules and regulations in place – most of which are specifically designed to protect the rights of clients living within institutions.
Caregivers must be trained on the use of assisted living facility software, which is used for planning, patient administration, training, and a whole lot more. This software often includes compliance aids.
Infectious diseases pose a massive threat to the populations housed in assisted living facilities. The large outbreaks within elder care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic should be a testament to this risk. Assisted living facility caregiving staff should be thoroughly trained in the prevention of infectious disease spread. They are trained in how to spot pathogen spread risk factors and how to protect vulnerable clients during times when pathogens are present. Older people – especially those suffering from health complications – are often more vulnerable to the detrimental effects of infection. Caregiving staff must periodically take on a public health role – educating clients about the correct procedures to take during the outbreak of an infectious disease.
Facilities need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Medical equipment should be kept in a sterile condition or disposed of safely. Training for assisted living facility caregivers should involve detailed instructions for the creation of a biologically safe place.
Several conditions that frequently impact older people severely damage their ability to access or create memories. This can be massively detrimental to the overall well-being of clients living within a facility. Caregivers should be trained in various methods of memory assistance. They should be made familiar with the symptoms of neurological conditions that impact memory. While there is no cure for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, there are actions that can be taken by caregivers that provoke some improvements in the memory function of those impacted by these illnesses. Training on the various neurological disorders experienced by older people and the ways in which people can help to mitigate their symptoms is essential.
Assisted living caregivers are often expected to administer medicines to the people living under their care. It is vitally important that these caregivers are aware of the doses that their clients require and that they do not make any mistakes in the provision of them. In some cases, they will be expected to administer medicine using IV drips or hypodermic injections. Administering medicine using these methods requires extra training to ensure safety. Morphine is the most commonly injected drug in the elderly population. This opioid drug is used to deal with chronic pain and must be administered incredibly carefully.
Caregivers must also be familiar with the possible side effects of any medicine they administer to their clients. They must know the appropriate course of action to take if side effects become detrimental to their client’s health.
Elder Mental Health
Older adults frequently suffer from mental health issues. Approximately 20 percent of the population over the age of 60 have been diagnosed with some kind of mental health disorder. Loneliness and illness in older populations contribute towards an increase in mental health disorder diagnoses. In assisted living homes, these issues are at their most acute. People living in these facilities may be experiencing a breakdown in their physical and mental capabilities – despite the best efforts of staff working in their service.
The best training courses and institutions provide assisted living caregivers with all of the tools they need to guide older people safely through mental health issues and facilitate recovery. Caregivers that receive no mental health training are typically unprepared for the levels of psychiatric care that they will be expected to give and may burn out very quickly.