What it Means to be a Certified Dementia Practitioner
We recently spoke with Shelby Marshall and Lori Poisson, LPN, about their designation as Certified Dementia Practitioners. Below is part of that conversation.
Why did you choose to become a Certified Dementia Practitioner?
SM: To increase my knowledge of dementia so I can pass that knowledge on to families, our caregivers, our management team and to the community.
LP: I felt it was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge base. With so many private duty home care agencies to choose from, it’s hard for families to know who to go to and trust. Having this certification adds to our team’s credibility.
How does it help our caregivers, our clients and their families?
SM: “Dementia” comprises a complex set of diseases. While all types of dementias share some common traits, they’re unique diagnoses requiring varying levels of care. This certification gives me/us a strong foundation which can be shared with others: with families when coaching/talking them through their loved one’s changes; with caregivers who are working directly with our clients who need/seek guidance with care strategies; and with our team, for general education so that we can continually improve. Having the CDP credentials enables us identify our clients’ changes in conditions and escalate those to our Direct Care Managers.
LP: Being a CDP gives our clients and their families peace of mind knowing that there are qualified caregivers overseeing their care and available to support them. It also enhances our caregivers’ confidence, knowing that they have a support system that enables them to provide the best care possible.
What is the most valuable lesson you learned by becoming a CDP?
SM: Above all, we have to leave ourselves at the door. We have to “go there” with the person with dementia rather than try to take them “out of their world.” We have to set aside our goals (e.g. this person must have a shower today) and first engage with the person with dementia to find out where they are in that very moment. This requires unbelievable patience and a willingness to be unselfish in our caregiving.
LP: There’s a much greater need than I realized for everyone involved in our clients’ care to further educate themselves about dementia. Being a CDP enables me to provide much-needed support to our clients, their families and our team.