Alabama to Use HealthCare Interactive’s CARES Online Dementia Training Statewide to Reduce Use of Antipsychotics

Medicare Funds Project to Improve Quality of Care in Nursing Homes

MINNEAPOLIS, March 2, 2021 (BUSINESSWIRE) — Healthcare Interactive, an edtech company dedicated to providing the highest quality caregiver training for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other brain disorders, announced today the statewide launch of its award-winning CARES® online dementia care training in 125 Alabama nursing homes to reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics in controlling resident behavior. The one-year effort, in conjunction with the Alabama Nursing Home Association (AHNA) and funded through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), aims to reduce Alabama’s antipsychotic use rate. The project will train direct-care staff with alternative methods to medication when responding to dementia-related behavior such as yelling, swearing, hitting, and biting.

Beginning this month, nursing homes across the state will begin to train and certify staff members with CARES Dementia Basics and CARES Dementia-Related Behavior online training programs. CARES teaches staff to see behavior as a form of communication. It emphasizes person-centered care and provides ways to reduce and respond to resident behavior. HealthCare Interactive’s proprietary approach to caregiving used in CARES de-escalates resident behavior, prevents the behavior from occurring, and reduces the need to turn to antipsychotics, often used to control such behavior.

“Responding to resident behavior is difficult and challenging for direct care workers, nursing staff, and administrators alike,” said John Hobday, CEO of HealthCare Interactive and creator of the CARES online training programs. “In the absence of clear ways for staff to de-escalate or prevent resident behavior, antipsychotics become a common resort in nursing homes. This innovative CMS program allows us to begin to change that pattern.”

CMS funds quality of care innovations such as the CARES project in Alabama through the Civil Monies Penalty (CMP) program. CMP redirects fines assessed on nursing homes during annual surveys into state funds, which may then be used to fund support activities that protect or improve the quality of care or quality of life for residents. CMP funds are granted to protect or improve the quality of life for nursing facility residents.

According to Hobday, “We developed our CARES online training and certification for one simple reason—to improve quality of care for people living with dementia by giving staff an easy-to-learn, easy-to-remember, five-step approach to caregiving that’s proven to help reduce behavior without taking away human qualities. We can’t expect nursing homes to reduce use of antipsychotics unless staff members have a better way respond to resident behavior. This statewide effort, in strong partnership with the Alabama Nursing Home Association, does just that.”

“We are eager to implement the CARES training and certification effort across the state of Alabama,” said Brandon Farmer, CEO and president of the Alabama Nursing Home Association. “This innovative training will improve the quality of care for Alabama nursing home residents and give strong support for our dedicated staff members, especially during these challenging times with COVID-19.”

This CMP effort began February 15, 2021, and will run for an initial period of one year. Both antipsychotic and online training rates will be correlated facility by facility and compared quarterly across the state.

About the Alabama Nursing Home Association

Founded in 1951, the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) represents 97% of the state’s nursing homes. It is Alabama’s oldest and largest long-term and post-acute care trade organization. For more information, visit www.anha.org

About HealthCare Interactive

Founded in 1997, Healthcare Interactive® is an edtech company headquartered in the Twin Cities and dedicated to providing the highest quality caregiver training for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other brain disorders. The company’s CARES® online, video-based dementia care training, certification, and credentialing are widely published in academic literature and the only online dementia care training to be formally recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. To learn more about these award-winning educational programs tailored to professional caregivers, organizations, and families, visit www.hcinteractive.com

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