As the coronavirus continues to sweep the nation, many people are looking to online resources for advice on how to care for their sick family members. Luckily, there are a number of digital courses, certifications and education programs available right now.
1. Family Caregiving How-To Video Series
Millions of family members perform medical and nursing tasks at home to care for their loved ones. However, most don’t have any training handling prescriptions or helping someone climb the stairs safely. This lack of knowledge could result in injury, even if caregivers have the best intentions.
Luckily, the American Association of Retired Persons — or AARP — is currently offering an online video series addressing the ins and outs of family caregiving in the midst of COVID-19. These short clips address a wide variety of topics including nutrition, incontinence, wound care, mobility and medications. This resource is free and available in both Spanish and English.
2. Basic Caregiver Certification
Whether you’re taking care of a family member recovering from COVID-19 or constantly caring for someone with an ongoing illness, you are technically a caregiver. However, earning a basic caregiver certification will make you an expert in the field. Plus, if you plan to work in a nursing home or assisted living community, some agencies require you have this certification beforehand.
You can find certification courses online or take them in-person at a local college or vocational school once universities reopen. During training, you’ll learn about housekeeping, home safety and a variety of other subjects to help you become a well-rounded caregiving expert.
3. Tips for Dementia Caregivers
As a caregiver, you already know dementia patients can put themselves in harm’s way by simply forgetting where they are or how to complete a certain task. In the current crisis, this forgetfulness can increase risk of contracting the virus. For example, people with dementia and Alzheimer’s may forget to wash their hands, wear a mask or take other precautions to protect themselves.
Subsequently, the Alzheimer’s Association is offering a host of online resources to help caregivers keep a closer eye on their loved ones and make sure they stay safe and healthy. Their list of tips offers advice for supporting persons with dementia in hospitals and residential facilities as well as those receiving at-home services.
4. Home Health Aide License
Just like a basic caregiver certification, a home health aide license is a useful authorization to have if you wish to work in a retirement home or similar medical facility. A home health training course will add credibility to your resume while also providing you with the tools to care for family members at home and in assisted living communities.
You can find training programs through the National Association for Home Care as well as Hospice. Both organizations offer credentials through Home Care University, an education resource for online learning. Their video lectures and interactive learning sessions provide training in advanced clinical skills, therapies, leadership strategies and more.
5. End-of-Life Caregiver Certification
Palliative and end-of-life care aren’t something many caregivers like to think about. However, receiving training in this area will ensure loved ones have the best care in the final stages of life. An end-of-life caregiver certification can help you navigate both the physical and emotional aspects of senior caregiving.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization offers online courses covering a variety of topics in palliative, clinical and regulatory care. However, it may be wise to check with local inpatient Hospice facilities for in-person training as well.
Finding a Balance
The internet offers any number of online resources, training courses and tips for caregivers. While these may be helpful, especially right now when many can’t leave their homes, it may be best to supplement online training with hands-on learning. Of course, you may have to wait to complete this part of a course.
Having both online and in-person practice will better prepare you for real-life caregiving and make you a well-rounded caretaker.