“All behaviour has meaning”: A qualitative exploration of dementia training of healthcare assistant students

Tracy M. Christianson, Tracy J. Hoot, Victoria McLelland, Kimberly Morris


Statement of the Problem: Nurses face a high level of risk of violence compared with other workers, with higher frequency towards those who are younger and less experienced. Risk of violence is similar for health care aides, and nursing students, with health care aides experiencing the highest rate of injury because much of their work and clinical practice is in long-term care settings where many residents are at risk for challenging behaviours due to cognitive changes. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effects Gentle Persuasive Approaches© (GPA) training had on health care assistant students’ knowledge and ability to care for patients who have the potential for responsive behaviours. GPA is a training program recognized in Canada as best practice in the management of responsive behaviours of patients, providing learners with the skills to interact and intervene to diffuse escalating care situations. Methodology: A mixed-methods approach with a quasi-experimental, repeated measures design was used. Health care assistant (HCA) students received GPA training by certified faculty coaches prior to their clinical practice. Repeated measure questionnaires were administered pre-GPA, post-GPA, and post-clinical practice. Focus groups allowed students to reflect on how GPA prepared them for managing responsive behaviours post-clinical practice. Findings: The results demonstrate the effectiveness of offering evidence-based dementia training program while students are still in their educational program to better prepare them to provide person-centred care and keep themselves and their patients safe.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v11n2p28

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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