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If you work in long-term care, you’re likely familiar with the stigma that Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and front-line staff come and go in what can feel like a revolving door.

The fact that it is so familiar represents how a culture shift is needed across the entire industry, and precisely why I focus on Dementia-Aware training during my workshops. I like to empower my clients to “train to retain” all staff. But, before we can inspire industry-wide change, we must consider and answer some difficult questions.

While it can be easy to point fingers at the facilities that staff leave to and assume the grass is greener, what if, instead, we considered what could happen if the proper support and training were provided for them to go the distance as caregivers in the first place? Training is an investment that can be challenging to adequately budget for and combined with layers of compliance and regulations, it can become hard to imagine taking someone off the job even for a short on-site training session. However, in comparison to the cost and time it takes to replace them and re-train new staff, these risks are minimal in the big picture!

Let’s look at the bigger picture: Is the industry facing massive turnover because CNAs and all staff, including leadership, aren’t being properly supported? Absolutely. The truth is, paying now is much more affordable than paying later, and this doesn’t just mean money. For example, consider how difficult it is to repair a damaged reputation from worst-case situations.

Without appropriate Dementia-Aware training, it is impossible for care staff, no matter how well-intentioned, to keep residents safe. This means that they could inadvertently trigger violent and aggressive behavior, and someone could get physically hurt. Not knowing proper strategies and techniques for providing safety and comfort can cause stress for both the caregivers and the people being cared for.

The great news is that many CNAs are reporting that they don’t want to seek new employment as much as they just want to be supported, empowered and educated to learn best practices to elevate the care they provide beyond just the minimum standards.

There isn’t an overnight solution to this, but we have the answer and that lies in education. Education is needed to ensure that all who provide direct care are equipped with the tools and strategies they need to successfully support and engage with a person living with any cause of dementia symptoms at every stage of cognitive decline. And let’s not forget why this is so important to begin with: Any person living with dementia deserves highly specialized, personalized, loving dementia care.

If your organization is in a position where you are experiencing high turnover for some of these reasons, let’s work together to find affordable and convenient solutions that work best for your team to enhance the lives of your residents. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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