Sandra Gordon cares.
“I became involved in the area of dementia care within health care in 2000 when I became the clinic coordinator for the Specialized Geriatric Consultation Team at Rockyview General Hospital,” says the MRU Dementia Care instructor.
Her primary work there was the assessment of older adults, and her findings were significant.
“I would say that over 50% of our clients were living with a dementia,” she adds, “The issues for them, their care providers and families became of interest to me as a nurse.”
Gordon is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. A nurse with a Master’s degree in Gerontological Certification, she’s currently working to add a PhD to her credentials, researching how health care professionals understand dementia.
“Most recently,” she states, “we launched an Advanced Knowledge for Dementia Care series for Health care Professionals working across the care continuum.” This MRU Continuting Education program has the goal to increase knowledge and skills for health care professionals who may be in positions to influence how decisions are made about dementia care.
This is a gap that, in her research, she believes needs to be filled.
“I believe there is very little for direct care providers outside of ‘inhouse’ learning,” noting that, “Many organizations provided education for families and family care givers, but not so many for direct care providers and health care professionals.”
Gordon acknowledges that, despite being a course that it of interest to students who are thrust into the position of care-giver for a family member afflicted with the condition, “This is not a ‘how to’ course, the focus is person-centered care that is relational.” She explains, “When one is practicing in an area with vulnerable populations the more we know about best practice approaches for care, the better the care for persons living with a dementia and their families.”
It is Sandra Gordon’s belief that, through courses like this, “Those working within dementia care can influence systemic issues such as poor communication between supportive living and acute care, primary care and long term care.”
Through her instruction, Gordon is offering some positive piece of mind for the industry.
If summer camp teaches one thing, it’s ‘be prepared’.
Kevin Gilbert, MRU Kids’ Program Coordinator, models that strategic preparation.
There’s a lot of planning that goes into the diverse offerings of fun and learning that MRU Kids gives campers each summer, and the programs are always changing.
Gilbert beams, “We have a new camp called Dynamic Gamers.” As he starts to spout out technical achievements the campers will explore like the science behind the trending video games for fans, it’s clear he’s passionate about this. “I’m looking forward to that camp as well,” he confesses.
Along with Dynamic Gaming, MRU Kids is introducing new sports-oriented camps. Gilbert concurs, “We have a new Junior Fieldtrip Camp for sports where we’re hoping to have a different (sports) venue every day,” he rolls into, “we have a new bike and play camp to teach bike and safety skills.”
A new cultural development, Gilbert and his team are working with the Iskim Centre this year. “We’re developing some exciting First Nations Programs. It’s amazing,” he claims of the valuable addition to MRU Kids’ experience, “the culture… the storytelling… it’s going to be great.”
The older campers have a chance to explore some higher-level programs like Entrepreneurship Camp and Junior Leadership Camp where campers are taught to be leaders in the community.
Gilbert adds a sidebar, “We also call it ‘Counsellors-In-Training’. The program has been around for 2 years now and last summer, we hired 3 previous Junior Leadership students as summer counsellors.”
Returning campers will also recognize established favourites like Conoco Phillips Camps for Science, always a popular choice.
Preparations are still in the works for many of the finer details. Gilbert says, “We’re hoping to have an Open House at the MRU Kids office in June where you can come visit, see the office and ask questions.”
Until then, if you have questions, check the newly launched website.
So this summer, be prepared for adventure with MRU Kids!
-JLove (Summer Camp Enthusiast)