By Sarah Scott MS, CCC-SLP, TOM, DOR, Draper Rehabilitation & Care, Draper, Utah
Draper Rehabilitation just wrapped up our first Abilities Care Expert (ACE) class. The class can be adapted to the needs of each facility and is in no way a one-size-fits-all experience. On the therapy portal, the instructor manual and participant manuals are available, making it easy. The class we offered followed the manual with minor customizations. There is one hour of classroom experience followed by a home learning assignment, which is brought to share at the beginning of the next class. The purpose of the assignments is to solidify content and provide practical application opportunities to transform an academic experience into an active, hands-on learning one. After five weeks of class, there is a review and examination, following which you have earned your ACE.
Prior to starting this venture, Abilities Care Approach and the ACE opportunity were presented to our ED Jeremy Meldrum, who believes in intelligent risk-taking. He believed that educating and empowering our staff would yield improved employee retention, decreased staff stress and burnout, improved preservation of our residents’ remaining abilities, and improved quality measures. The program was then presented to the IDT team, who were also supportive and believed in the potential One Clinical implications of implementing this program. We have three current full-time ACEs on the floor! A few more are one make-up class and exam away from their ACE. We have eight registered for our class, which begins in January.
In All-Staff, we chose to acknowledge the dedication and experience of our ACEs who are passionate and leaders on the floor with a certificate, a pair of ACE scrubs, a small gift card, and our ED and DON approved an hourly increase. For our first group of ACE participants, I offered the class at 6:00 on Mondays after 12-hour nursing shifts ended and at 2:15 after CNA shift change and dietary completed clean-up of lunch. All employees were welcomed to participate. In our first cohort, we had reception/HR, medical records, nursing, med tech, and CNA staff. We invited at our All-Staff meeting James Guilliam RN, ACE, Gabriella Lujan CNA, ACE, and Fausto Lombardi CNA, ACE to share their experience and the impact it had on them. Their words were so moving and touching. They are incredible people. Gabby wrote her thoughts out to make sure she captured what she wanted to say.
This Class Gave Me a New Prospective
By Gaby Lujan, CNA
When I found out about the Abilities Care Class and what I would have the opportunity to learn in it, I knew immediately that I wanted to invest my time into learning what that meant. For me, I felt like I had the edge pieces to a puzzle put together, but I just couldn’t fit the middle pieces in correctly. There was a gap in my knowledge regarding the way I approached some patients, and this class has helped me immensely. Knowing each level of dementia and the abilities that each level of dementia does and does not have, to me, has changed the way I interact with our patients and has improved their experience as well as mine. I’m more relaxed at work, while still getting everything I need to do done. Does it take more time to use this information I’ve learned? Absolutely. But when it comes down to it, I want to make a difference in our residents’ lives. Their care matters.
Using the skills I have learned in the class helped me recognize ways that we, as caregivers, can work with these patients to make a huge positive difference in their lives. It’s things like approaching patients from the front rather than the side or back, getting down on their level when you talk to them, changing how we have conversations with them, knowing if they need to be cued and set up or just set up to do an ADL, etc., can drastically change the way their day goes. Abilities Care is so important for the well-being of our residents and can also help us to help them keep their abilities as long as possible. All our residents want is to keep their independence, and learning the Abilities Care information can help us to help them keep it. I think every CNA should take this class, as it may help to understand things from their perspective. Let’s elevate our care by learning about Abilities Care! Our patients are people and deserve the dignity and respect that we all give each other. To me, that means learning about their conditions to better help them as a human being. Thank you!