written by Dana Herron
How CaraVita is providing unique opportunities for students
At CaraVita Home Care, our passion is caring for others. Being a friend. Providing gentle assistance when needed. Helping with everyday tasks. Our caregivers are some of the best around because they have an internal drive and enthusiasm for the work they do.
As enthusiastic as CaraVita Home Care is about providing one-of-a-kind training and care, we are also passionate about training those who will be interacting with patients. Through CaraVita Home Care’s partnership with Georgia State University’s Physical Therapy Department, we recently hosted a group of doctoral students for two sessions that allowed them to learn about dementia and to interact with residents at Woodland Ridge Assisted Living & Memory Care to put that training into practice.
At CaraVita Home Care’s Roswell, Georgia, office, 37 third-year students under the direction of Dr. Anne Lorio participated in the Virtual Dementia Tour® created by award-winning geriatric specialist P.K. Beville, M.S., founder and CEO of Second Wind Dreams®, an organization changing society’s perception of aging through the granting of dreams for elders. The Virtual Dementia Tour® provides a simulated dementia experience for participants and allows them to understand the challenges—both mental and physical—living with dementia may impose. The Virtual Dementia Tour® also helps participants understand how, as caregivers, they can better interact with people who have cognitive challenges.
Beth Cayce, CEO and founder of CaraVita Home Care, is a physical therapy graduate of Georgia State University herself, and she understands how important the training is for these students. Cayce says, “When I was in school we weren’t prepared to work with people who had dementia. We weren’t shown appropriate tools and techniques to work with this population. These students will have the benefit of learning how to interact appropriately in order to increase the benefits of therapy.”
Cayce is proud to be part of the training process at GSU and says that GSU is the only physical therapy school in the nation that offers its students training through both the Virtual Dementia Tour® and practical application of what they’ve learned. The partnership training program between CaraVita Home Care and GSU has been in place now for three years.
After the students participated in the Virtual Dementia Tour®, Cayce gave them an overview of dementia and demonstrated specific methods for prompting and cueing patients with dementia. The next week, the students visited Woodland Ridge Assisted Living & Memory Care and put their new knowledge to work. Students were able to interact with residents during their daily activities, including a corn hole game, karaoke, hand massages, reminiscing, and lunch. Students were able to practice the prompts and techniques they learned. Cayce was even able to demonstrate how working with a dementia patient with a hip injury might be better accomplished through connecting with specific functional memories rather than simply using verbal instructions that may not be effective.
Through this one of a kind training experience, Cayce knows the students will be able to improve the care they provide. Cayce says, “They will end up treating patients who have dementia during their careers, and learning how to interact effectively with these patients will improve the care they can provide. Ultimately, the patients will have better therapeutic results.” And that’s what drives Cayce and the CaraVita Home Care team—a passion for ensuring the best care possible.