Updated: Mar 27
Continuing education is necessary for every caregiver. According to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, long-term care workers must complete at least 12 hours of continuing education courses each year.
As an employer, you should encourage and support your caregivers to complete this training. Of course, the official requirements are not the only reason.
Offering full support when it comes to continuing education is one of the best ways to keep your caregivers amid the current caregiver crisis.
If your caregivers are uncertain about the best topics for their CEs, you can help guide them depending on your agency's needs.
Here are some topics that are sure to prove useful to every caregiver in their work.
In many cases, a caregiver’s job includes meal planning and cooking for the client. These meals should be healthy and nutritious and consider any special dietary restrictions and health issues the client might have.
Learning about the basics of nutrition will give a caregiver a good starting point so they can create balanced meals for their clients. Some topics to cover include which food groups to encourage and what essential nutrients people need for optimal health.
Caregivers should also be aware of which foods should be avoided or limited. Last but not least, they should learn about the basics of food safety to prevent foodborne illnesses.
The CDC estimates that around 50 million US adults live with chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain. Out of those, over 13 million are aged 65 or older.
Living with chronic pain can lead to other conditions, such as anxiety and depression. It is invaluable knowledge for a caregiver to know the proper techniques to support clients who live with chronic pain.
In caregiving, as in many other professions, sometimes people tend to focus only on hard skills. However, soft skills are a vital part of the job, and none more so than communication.
A successful relationship between a caregiver and their client hinges on a huge amount of trust. This kind of trust is not always easy to establish, and it will make any caregiver's life much easier if they get valuable insight and tips on how to build it.
Depression in Older Clients
Unfortunately, depression is widespread in older adults. By some accounts, it affects over two million of the elderly population in the United States.
Recognizing it is not always easy, and it’s important for a caregiver to be able to differentiate between normal bad moods and symptoms of depression. In fact, a bad mood is sometimes not even the most noticeable symptom.
Many factors might make an elderly person vulnerable to depression - from hormonal changes to lifestyle changes and financial aspects.
A caregiver who understands these factors and can recognize the signs will be able to provide their clients with the support they need.
Self-Care for Caregivers
Self-care is one of the best ways to prevent caregiver burnout. The topic might seem frivolous at first glance. People often mistakenly believe that self-care is just about small treats and indulgences.
In fact, self-care is about choosing behaviors that make a person feel fulfilled in every aspect of their life.
Encouraging your caregivers to choose a CE about self-care means helping them to solve their own problems, correct behaviors that are not serving them, and constantly keep growing.
Caregivers who feel satisfied with themselves and their life can do their job well. A person who doesn’t take care of themselves can hardly be expected to take proper care of anyone else.
Substance Abuse and Addiction in Clients
Addiction is nowhere near the top of the list of problems you usually think of when you think about caring for the elderly. And yet, this silent epidemic is rampant among the elderly population.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around a million people aged 65 or older live with substance abuse. When it comes to alcohol abuse, the numbers are even bigger. Around 13% of men and 2% of women over the age of 60 are reported to be heavy drinkers.
Addiction in clients is a common, if not that commonly discussed, challenge that caregivers face. Learning how to work with clients who are affected by it is an invaluable experience for caregivers.
Prevention of Falls
For older adults, falls can be very serious. One of the factors that can lead to serious consequences is osteoporosis, which affects around 10 million people of both sexes over the age of 50 in the United States.
This condition is related to loss of bone and loss of bone strength. For those affected by it, the risk of fractures rises significantly.
Unfortunately, due to impaired balance or vision, falls can be very common. Caregivers working with the elderly would benefit greatly from learning how to prevent falls and how to react if a fall does happen.
At the end of the day, if you encourage your caregivers to continue with their training, you will have caregivers who are more knowledgeable and skilled, and confident at their job.
A sense of competence will bring them greater job satisfaction. After all, occupational wellness is one of the key aspects of self-care. And your clients will be happy to receive care from highly qualified caregivers. Continued education is a win for everyone involved.