Private Certifications 2020

Private Certifications 2020 post page

Debi Tyler

By Debi TylerOctober 24th, 2019

Private Certifications 2020

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by Debi Tyler Newsom, OTR/L,
PAC Client Relations Director


When have you seen an enthusiastic and passionate PAC Certified Trainer return to their workplace full of new ideas, only to find that over time, they feel like an army of one, and don’t have the administrative or peer support to implement the changes they hoped for?  When ideas and enthusiasm start to fizzle, it can be very frustrating!  For some settings, a Private Certification might be the answer!

As we round the corner into 2020 and PAC launches a calendar of events for the upcoming year, Private Certifications are one of the options we continue to offer.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU! While public certifications provide the opportunity for an individual to bring their awareness, skills, and knowledge back to their workplace, a private certification brings training to the workplace, and helps to create a team of PAC Certified Trainers and Coaches who work together in the same organization. The uniqueness of the organization and areas of focus specific to that group can be addressed. There is an opportunity to spend time on the units observing and trying skills out with the residents that are cared for by staff familiar to them.

SUSTAINABLE! This starts to build a sustainable model for change within the dementia care setting, because the trainers and coaches pool their skills to tackle the inevitable challenges.  It is easier for a team to maintain the PAC philosophy and techniques despite unavoidable situations that occur in an organization, such as attrition, shifting job positions, roller-coaster support from leadership, and the day-to-day challenges of care. Success does not rest entirely on one certified individual, but on the group of trainers and coaches who perform their roles within the organization.  Changing skill sets, responding instead of reacting, and problem-solving different care situations takes practice, persistence, and patience. Sometimes that’s a lot for one certified individual to shoulder!

SUPPORT! Another significant benefit of a Private Certification is the way key administrative, leadership, or management staff are blended into the mix. The private certification model allows up to three leadership staff to fully participate in and attend the course at no charge. While this helps to sweeten the deal, the real value is that those leadership individuals experience the impact of the course, and acquire a realistic understanding about what is involved. This applies not just to having an empathy with other attendees regarding the intensity of the course, but also the time it takes to apply the training in the work setting. Leadership staff who embrace the training will continue to support it because they have experienced for themselves the difference it can make!

ROLE-SPECIFIC! A Private Certification parallels the format of the public certification, with a few variations. All attendees including the leadership staff designate either the Trainer track or the Coach track prior to the course. There is the usual seven hours of pre coursework to complete on-line, followed by the two-day classroom sessions. The content of the course consists of Day 1 Skills and the introduction regarding how trainers and coaches will work with each other. Break-out sessions occur on Day 2 that are role-specific. When the group comes back together, there is real-time practice for the trainers to deliver content to the group, synchronized with coaches using their coaching cycle to staff related to that training.

DEDICATED MINI-TEAMS! The organization is urged to think about how trainers and coaches will work together in their setting, and actually form smaller sub-sets of one trainer and one to three coaches who will cover a part of the organization, possibly a wing, a floor, or a unit of the building. There is also thought put into the selection process of who would make an effective trainer or coach, based on passion, personality, and role in the organization.

CONFIDENCE-BOOSTER!  A third day add-on option is a Skills Awareness Workshop, utilizing the certification learners as supports for the workshop. They are encouraged to assist to the level of their comfort in asking their group a question, collecting activity cards, or helping with a role-play. This model of training has provided tremendous impact for those organizations wanting to reinforce the skills of their new learners, while promoting them as the organization’s go to for PAC philosophy and care. New trainers and coaches feel more confident in their freshly acquired skills and receive recognition for the time they have invested in the course. The larger group becomes involved in the process for changing dementia care, and realize they have peers to use as resources.

WIN-WIN! While not all organizations have the staff or budget to consider a Private Certification, there are a lot of reasons to cost out the option before ruling it out, especially if there was a thought of sending more than two or three individuals to a public course for certification. In 2019, we scheduled one private certification per month, and have set aside one week each month for 2020.  We have seen tremendous success in more sustainable dementia culture change in the organizations that have participated, and many of these organizations have used their teams of coaches and trainers to work towards becoming a PAC Designated Organization!

Can you think of an organization that might benefit from the advantages of a Private Certifications?   Contact Debi for more information!

Debi Tyler, OTR/L, brings to PAC years of experience working with older adults, dementia care experience, and a long history with Teepa Snow. She was educated at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, with a degree in Occupational Therapy, and has provided decades of care and leadership for rehabilitation settings in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Ohio. Early in her career, she recognized a passion for working in gerontology and has been constantly enriched by the colorful stories and experiences of that population. As the Client Relationship Director for Positive Approach to Care (PAC), she helps to coordinate training and service offerings to clients with the goal of growing dementia awareness, skills, and competence. Debi is energized by family, her loyal, loving golden retriever, travel, and experimenting with new recipes, photography, and her latest creative project.


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