The James L. West Center in Fort Worth celebrates 10 years of dementia education and caregiver training

By Cathy Neece Brown
James L. West Center

“Providing Hope for the Journey” – this simple statement is much more than a marketing slogan. The words reflect the James L. West Center’s commitment to providing exceptional care and support to people with dementia and the villages of people who guide, love, care for and support them.

More than 53 million Americans are caring for adults and children who cannot care for themselves. Whether helping an aging parent, a seriously ill spouse or child, or another special person in need, those who care for them often do so at the cost of a great personal sacrifice of time. , energy and income.

Caring for a loved one brings joy and fulfillment, but it’s also difficult. Caregiving requires dedication, determination and time.

Today, February 18, is National Caregiver Day and the staff at James L. West took a moment to salute and celebrate the thousands of caregivers we have had the privilege of working with – and the millions of caregivers to national level: families, professionals and volunteers .

If you provide support such as shopping and groceries, wound care, managing prescriptions, or cooking, cleaning, and personal care at home, you are a caregiver.

Ten years ago, the West Center recognized how far so many families have come as they began to understand the realities and future needs of their family members with dementia. The answers were hard to come by, and few for the most part…it became clear that a better and more thoughtful roadmap was needed for these families.

As our country’s population continues to age, the face and needs of caregivers will change. Studies confirm that high levels of stress often cause a family caregiver to suffer significant health effects or even die before their loved one succumbs to the effects of a dementia-related illness.

Understanding this dynamic, the West Center has embarked on a bold commitment to develop a world-class education program for caregivers with dementia, focused on providing caregivers with the tools and answers to their “current” questions and needs. while educating them for the journey the disease would take them. to.

Developed to serve the Fort Worth area, the program has expanded across the country and, through technology, around the world. Offerings include face-to-face and online programs, as well as an extensive caregiver education video library available on the West Center website.

Understanding first-hand the needs of family caregivers, the Caregiver Program began with this goal in mind. As the West Center received contacts from the professional healthcare community, the program expanded with trainings and seminars to teach professionals how to manage and care for people with dementia.

James L. West embraces his nearly 30-year history of training health care students; the center has been the clinical hub for dozens of programs for health care students from the Dallas-Fort Worth area who come to the West Center to complete their clinical rotations.

Students who “tour” the West Center receive in-depth training on dementia through the Center’s Dementia Education Program.

A generous gift from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation provided initial funding for the program and the recruitment of current and founding staff member – Jaime Cobb Tinsley. Jaime’s extensive experience working with patients with Alzheimer’s disease and her gifted communication skills made her the ideal candidate to develop and launch the Centre’s educational programs.

To date, The West Center is the only certified Alzheimer’s nursing center to offer comprehensive dementia education programs for families, staff and the community at large.

In addition to education programs, the West Center has expanded staff to include a licensed professional counselor who teaches as well as leads support groups and individual counselling.

What might you see in the next 10 years, you ask?

The West Center will continue to expand its teaching programs, including its role as a hub for the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model which offers the Center the opportunity to be a specialist dementia hub to connect with communities around the world via Zoom sessions. Additionally, West Center’s current CNA Dementia course will be expanded to include additional community partnerships focused on training the next generation of healthcare leaders.

Additionally, expect the West Center to expand even further into the home and community services market to meet the needs of people living in the community. This initiative kicks off in May with the reopening of the Centre’s adult day program and the introduction of a Dementia360 model of care.

In an effort to focus not on what is lost but on what remains, Center West honors both people with dementia and their caregivers.

On this National Caregiver Day, we say “Thank you” to the millions of caregivers – families, professionals and volunteers – who walk boldly and courageously one day at a time, with joy and challenge, to support those to whom they provide care. care. care and support.

Until there is a cure, we are here to care!

Cathy Neece Brown is vice president, Mission Support, for the James L. West Center, 1111 Summit Ave., Fort Worth.

Norma A. Roth