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.