Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Providing competent, high-quality, and person-centered care is important in the healthcare environment, including the care for the aging and training of those who provide care. A knowledge gap in dementia-specific training was identified at an assisted living facility. The purpose of this project was to answer the question whether a dementia-specific educational staff training program would improve staff members' knowledge and application of dementia-specific competencies as well as caring behaviors. Watson's theory of human caring, the theory of planned behavior, and Leininger's framework of culture care were used to inform this project. The educational project evaluated the success of implementing nurse caring behaviors and a dementia-specific training program. Data collection included analysis of the responses of 20 facility personnel to a survey validating the needs assessment. Results of pre- and posttesting of each educational module demonstrated a statistically significant improvement (p =.0001), and observation of staff-resident interactions demonstrated 100% achievement on the competency checklist across all project participants. Qualitative analyses of data gathered from participants' discussions resulted in 4 themes: (a) the characteristics of dementia care, (b) individual caregiver attitudes, (c) knowledge deficit, and (d) the importance of caring behaviors. Educational training methods were found effective to elicit nursing staff behavior change and improve understanding of the dementia patient and requisite care, which represents a significant positive social change and enhanced care for the dementia patient in the assisted living facility.