Instructions:

To select a course, 1. Read the course descriptions 2. Click on (read more) to view entire lesson.

 

New Courses

Revisiting House Rules

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

The unique feature of our industry is that you provide medical care out of a regular home. It gives you a competitive advantage over other types of medical care by tapping into the resident’s and their family’s sense of home.  It also creates the perception that the job is easier and more relaxed for caregivers.

This may be strength, but it is also a weakness. Expectation for the caregiver’s home to be like the resident’s own home is very high. At the same time, it is oh so easy for caregivers to forget their house is no longer a home - it’s a business. A business set up to meet the needs and expectations of paying customers.

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A Caregivers Perspective on an the Patient’s Bill of Rights

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

Adult foster care homes are a business in which the borders on the individual’s rights tend to blur. It’s easy to start your business thinking you will respect the rights of each and every resident in your care. But when you’re in the caregiving trenches day after day, it becomes easier for caregivers to cross the line. Corners get cut, caregivers get burned out, patients get difficult to manage, and the rights of individuals become forgotten.

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Caregiver Tips- Being Prepared

Credit hours 4 approved for apd, dd, amh

Be in Adult Foster Care long enough and you will see the entire medical treatment continuum, from minor bruises to residents passing away. Practicing your occupation at the point of patient first contact the caregiver has to be prepared to get the ball rolling on a large variety of medical occurrences. This CE will give you some practical caregiver tips so you will be better able to act when you are needed.

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Preventing Abuse in Care Homes

Credit hours 3 approved for apd, dd, amh

Anyone who has worked in a care home knows that it is the most difficult and stressful “easy” job they’ve ever held. The job doesn’t require a college degree, there’s no heavy labor involved, and what could be easier than working by just doing the normal activities of daily living? Then why do you feel so stressed, stretched, and strangled – often to the point of going crazy? When caregivers are pushed too far for too long, it’s easy for them to snap, and patient abuse can follow. It’s just like an irritating spider bite. You know you’re not supposed to scratch it, but you do it anyway just for a moment of temporary relief.

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What are Water Pills?

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

Just about everyone in the care business has heard of water pills. But if you look at your residents’ medication list, you will not find anything labeled as a water pill.  First, one doctor tells the patient this medication is a water pill. Then a nurse mentions that the medication is a diuretic. Then your pharmacist will counsel you that the medication is one of several different classes of medications referred to as water pills. What’s going on?

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Hemorrhoids, The Bottom Line

Credit hours 2 approved for apd, dd, amh

For a caregiver not too many events can cause more concern than finding blood coming from the bottom of one of your residents. What’s causing the blood to flow? Is it a minor scratch, a bad infection, or is it a symptom of something really serious like cancer?  This has happened to me several times in my caregiving career. We sent the patients to the doctor and waited anxiously for the diagnosis.

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Basics of Blood Pressure

Credit hours 3.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

...Without blood being under pressure, our body could not get the materials it needs to live. In fact, how much pressure the blood in under is a key indicator of health.

All that is well and good, but I know what some of you are thinking: Why should I even care? What good is this subject to a residential care provider? I’m not planning on performing any surgeries or major medical therapies anytime soon. What good is knowing about blood pressure in my caregiving profession?

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Boning Up On Bones

Credit hours 2.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

Doctors, pharmacists, and nurses have a great deal of knowledge, but no one has more day-to-day impact on patients’ lives than foster care homes. It is the day-to-day activities over the long run that really determines whether a patient stays healthy or gets ill.

There is no better example of this than bone health.  Other than the odd genetic defect, bone health is largely determined by lifestyle and dietary choices we make over our lifetime. The impact those choices make are very subtle. Bone health problems don’t  happen suddenly but develop over a long period of time. The consequences of those choices are usually felt when we age.

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27 NSAIDs

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

     Did you know that there were 27 different drugs in the NSAID class of medications? That doesn’t include combination drugs, so the number of NSAID-containing meds is actually much higher.  NSAID stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. They are among the most commonly used drugs for pain killing in the world today (aspirin is included in this group).  They can be used to kill pain, reduce fever, and reduce swelling due to inflammation.  Many find NSAIDs have advantages other painkillers do not. NSAIDs are not addicting like narcotics, and they reduce inflammation (acetaminophen and opiates do not), which helps in the healing process.

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 Obesity Therapy - A New Perspective

Credit hours 1.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

     Throughout the history of mankind, there have been individuals  so overweight that it seriously affects their health and wellbeing. Because weight gain in the general populace has always been a matter of choice, it is commonly believed that extremely overweight individuals must have chosen to be that way as well. All that changed in June 2013 when the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease state and recommended several medical therapies to treat it.  As part of the health care team, adult foster care providers must now recognize obesity as a disease and learn their role in its treatment. 

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Caregiver Refresher- Fire Prevention and Emergency Planning

Credit hours 1.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

    Each year in the U.S., more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Add to that floods, hurricanes, ice storms, power outages, etc. Stay in business long enough, and you’ll most likely have to face an emergency or two. Unlike disaster planning for other businesses (where they just send every home), care homes have to remain open and functioning.   To do that, you must develop a plan and practice it to be able to stay open in times of crisis.

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Pain School for Caregivers Course 1- What is Pain?

Credit hours 1.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

   When considering medical topics care givers usually don’t think of pain as a separate subject. We usually consider it as part of other topics such as cancer or back injury. Did you know that in the US, pain is the number one medical concern of all patients?  It is THE reason why patients see doctors. It is by far the most common complaint, more than all other complaints combined. Think about it

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Pain School for Caregivers Course 2- Acute Pain 

Credit hours 2 approved for apd, dd, amh

All pain starts off as acute pain. These are the aches that resolve quickly, or at least that is what everyone hopes for.  At this point pain is just a symptom of a larger issue. So how do care providers manage acute pain correctly? It’s time to apply some of your new found knowledge from pain school-course 1.

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Pain School for Caregivers Course 3- Chronic Pain 

Credit hours 2.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

   The definition of chronic pain is pain lasting over 3-6 months. But chronic pain is more than just the mere passage of time. Prolong pain presents other challenges to cope with. Patients and their care givers must learn to deal with the biological, emotional and social stresses that come from the prolonged exposure to pain.  To successfully cope with these new concerns caregivers and patients must have a change of mindset.

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13 Ways to Help Residents Sleep Normally,

Credit hours 4 approved for apd, dd, amh

    One of the most difficult aspects of living with the patients you take care of is when your residents have difficulty sleeping.  Those who don’t work and live in a care home don’t know how hard it is on caregivers to have a patient who won’t or can’t go to sleep. You can’t appreciate how stressful it is until you are the one who has to stay up with the patient and go without sleep for days on end.

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More than Bad Breath-The Basics of Mouth Rinses.

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

     Caregivers in care homes are responsible for many aspects of their clients’ lives. That includes what goes on in their mouths. Such a minor thing in the lives of others can become a source of daily challenge in the life of a debilitated resident.  Bad breath is just the start.  Sore gums, toothaches, and ill-fitting dentures can be sources of constant irritation, and let’s not forget that annoying dry, cottony mouth. So what’s a caregiver to do? 

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Acetaminophen-What every caregiver should know.

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

     Acetaminophen is an analgesic (pain killer) and antipyretic (fever reducer) medication and the most common drug ingredient in America today. .... Of all medications caregivers must manage, acetaminophen is the one they are most likely to come across most often.But there are rumors that acetaminophen is actually bad for you. Someone heard somewhere of people loosing there livers to Tylenol or dying from an overdose? Is acetaminophen really safe?

Should caregivers listen to the rumors and be concerned?

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The Creepy Crawlies: Scabies and Lice

Credit Hours 1.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

The Caregiver’s Nightmare

Not all skin infections are caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Some of the most common infections that trouble mankind are the result of infestations of slightly bigger critters, lice and mites.

Lice and mites are parasites that live off the blood of their unwilling hosts and are found anywhere humans gather.  They are extremely annoying and a major pain in the neck to get rid of. Although they are not usually the cause of any serious health consequences, they do carry several social stigmas. Those who are infested claim to die of embarrassment. 

For a business that lives and dies on its reputation, lice and mites outbreaks can be a real caregiver’s nightmare.

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“What did you just say?”Hearing and Hearing Aids

Credit Hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

     Caring for people in a home (non-institutional) setting can be challenging at times. Caregivers take on the responsibility for looking out for ALL of their clients’ needs. Suddenly, you must know what to do about… well, everything.  For example, all care providers have to know how to maintain, handle, and clean the hearing aids of their clients. 

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Caregivers Are from Venus but Medical Administration Records Are from MARS

Credit hours 1.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

    One of the most hated chores of residential caregiving is filling out the MARs, or medical administration records. To a lot of caregivers, it seems so tedious, so unnecessary and so unfamiliar. Such feeling are understandable.  Before professional caregiving, you never had to keep track of when and why you gave medication.  You never had to worry about keeping records and being accountable for every little thing. Admit it, some of you look at the MARs and prescriptions and think they are written in an alien dialect. It’s almost as if caregivers are from Venus and those who print medical administration records are from Mars. (Pun intended.)

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An Unintended Effect- Side Effects of Mental Health Drugs

Credit hours 2.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

Clueless

     When I was a 20-something year old, new caregiver in the relative new field of adult foster care, I have to admit I was pretty clueless. Back then, there were no basic training requirements and no continuing education lessons to take.   If it sounds like it was easier way back when- let me tell you, it wasn’t. Learning as you go, on the job training in health care definitely has its drawbacks. I didn’t even realize how clueless I was until after I started pharmacy school.  As I learned more and more about healthcare and medication effects, I kept telling myself I wish had known that when I started out as a caregiver.  I thought over and over again, “So that is why so and so acted so annoyingly. They couldn’t help it. It was a side effect of their medication. Maybe if I had known, I could have told the doctor and done something about it.” 

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10 Gizmos and their Do Dads of Diabetics

Credit hours 2 approved for apd, dd, amh

Taking care of a diabetic resident is a bit more complicated than caring for your other residents. They come with confusing new gizmos that require various do dads. Let’s see if we can clarify some of confusion by discussing the basics of the more common machines, devices, and required supplies that you might encounter as a caregiver.

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Diabetic in My Home – Now What Do I Do?

Credit Hours 2.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

    The prevalence of diabetes in older persons is going thru the roof.  According to the Center for Disease Control, 10.9 million U.S. residents aged 65 or older have diabetes -  that’s 26 percent or 1 in every 4. Last year alone, 390,000 new cases were reported.  What that means to Adult Foster care, Developmental Disabled and Mental Health Homes is that sooner or later, you will probably have a diabetic in your home and will have to deal with it. So, let’s deal with it

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The Fungus Amongus

 Credit Hours 1.5 approved for apd, dd, amh

 Who Has the Fungus Amongus?

     There are a lot of nasty things that like to chew on us (besides tax collectors and ex-spouses, that is). Among the most prevalent is a group of fungi known as dermatophytes. You might know them better by their common names, athlete’s foot, jock itch, ring worn, and nail fungus.

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Oh, my ACHING Back! The Dangers of Lifting

 Credit Hours 2 approved for apd, dd, amh

“Help, I’ve Fallen”  

     You have seen the commercials on TV. An elderly woman yells, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” If that scene was shot in a care home, you would hear the patient yell followed shortly by the caregiver yelling even louder, “Help, my resident has fallen and I threw out my back trying to get them up.”  Every job has its hazards. For In Home caregiving, especially elderly care, back injury is an ever present danger, a career stopper, and a business killer. Proper patient transferring and lifting techniques are the only sure ways to protect yourself, your business, and the patient from further injury

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“Ouch” it hurts when I smile. Those darn cold sores! 

Credit Hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

Those darn cold sores!

     Cold sores, fever blisters, or recurrent herpes labialis are those annoyingly painful blisters that form around the lips. They break out, leak fluid, and crust over.  Before they go away, scabs form that are none too flexible. They often crack when you move your lips, adding to the painful annoyance.  Just what are cold sores? Where do they come from? Can I get rid of them? Can I prevent them from happening in the first place? As a care provider, should I even care?

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What Your Pharmacist Didn’t Tell You: Safety Guidelines for Medications

Credit hours 1 approved for apd, dd, amh

      How often do you talk in-depth with the doctor about the medication your residents use? How much time have you spent with the pharmacist when your patient gets a new drug? How many times have you read through the literature that comes with the meds every month? If you’re like the vast majority of caregivers, the honest answer is probably- never, just enough time to pay for the drug and get home and “What literature? Oh, you mean those papers I throw away.”  Of course you’re not the only one who isn’t up to speed. How often has the doctor called you? How much time does the pharmacist spend with you? As for the literature- what is significant and what’s not? There’s a ton of boring reading that doesn’t seem important

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When it comes to mental health, what’s normal? Mental Health Overview for Care Providers

Credit Hours 4 approved for apd, dd, amh

     When it comes to mental health, who is normal and who is crazy?  That is a hard question to answer. Aren’t we all a bit off center in some way? Despite our differences, we can, for the most part, fit into society and function well.  Unfortunately, there are those who are so far off center that they have difficulty functioning and need help fitting in.  Some of these individuals cannot even live by themselves and wind up in your care homes. Caregivers to these needy people would be wise to have at least a basic understanding of what their clients face. Hopefully by the end of this lesson, you will have a better understanding of some of the most common of society’s mental health problems.

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Incontinency: Trying to Control the Uncontrolled

Credit Hours 1 approved for apd, dd

     What goes thru your mind when you walk into an elderly living space and smell the strong scent of urine? What is your opinion about the home or institution? Does it matter to you that the elderly residents are content and happy? Or does their incontinency make them appear to be discontent and unhappy?  Can your opinions make it past the smell?

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Dementia: Patients Don’t Act The Way They’re Suppose To

An AFC Overview of Alzheimer’s and other Dementias

Credit Hours 2.5 approved for apd, dd

     Perception is the process by which we humans organize and interpret our sensory input based on the preconceived notions that we have. There is a part based on how our senses and mind function and a part on based on how we function as part of a larger world. What happens when one or both parts aren’t based in the way things really are? We continue on, thinking that we are doing things right, but in essence we are not. Our actions don’t fit. It takes extra effort to exist in the world around us and often our efforts fail.

     One of the most challenging aspects of In Home Care is when a patient’s perceptions aren’t the way they are supposed to be.

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Gout: The Devil is Biting My Toe

Credit Hours 1 approved for apd, dd

     “Gout is a disease in which a defect in uric acid metabolism causes excess of the acid and its salts (urates) to accumulate in the bloodstream and the joints. It results in attacks of acute gouty arthritis and chronic destruction of the joints… The excess of urates also damages the kidneys, in which stones may form.”

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Leg Cramps: A Discussion on Causes and Cures

Credit Hours 1 approved for apd, dd

     Adult Foster Care Home providers are caring people.  They get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of helping their residents live a comfortable life.  The job also comes with its moments of frustrations. Leg cramps, for example.  Cramps aren’t really serious and are usually easily dealt with, but if cramping happens over and over again, it presents a challenge not so easily solved. The frustrating part is trying to solve the problem when you don’t have all the answers. Hopefully by the end of this article you will have some answers and a useable plan of action that will assist you in maintaining a good quality of life for your elderly resident.   

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Osteoporosis, the Silent Thief 

Credit Hours 2 approved for apd, dd

     About 20 years ago when I had my Adult Foster Care Homes, one of my residents was an 80-something resident named Martha (named changed). Martha was a typical adult foster care client.  No major health concerns, not wobbly on her feet.  She pretty much took care of herself and continually stayed in a little alcove which we had set up for her.  Overall, she was a quiet, stable patient with just the occasional grouchiness.  Just the kind of client you want to fill your home with.

   One day I was in the kitchen doing my duties when I heard what sounded like a bag of potatoes that had been dropped on the floor. Being an experienced caregiver, I knew what the sound was – one of my clients had fallen

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