The online 12-credit Dementia Care certificate program offered through UConn's School of Nursing is designed to educate individuals in nursing and other healthcare disciplines for the common goal of improving care of persons living with dementia and their caregivers. This relatively unique program addresses the public health priority and growing need to educate nurses and health care professionals on essential disease processes, treatments, care, and caregiving within the domain of dementia care.
According to the Alzheimer's Association 2021 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figure publication:
Millions of Americans are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. As the size of the U.S. population age 65 and older continues to increase, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will grow. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia is projected to reach 12.7 million. Both the number and proportion will escalate rapidly in coming years, as the population of Americans age 65 and older is projected to grow from 58 million in 2021 to 88 million by 2050. The baby-boom generation (Americans born between 1946 and 1964) has already begun to reach age 65 and beyond, the age range of greatest risk of Alzheimer’s dementia; in fact, the oldest members of the baby-boom generation turn age 75 in 2021. (https://www.alz.org/media/documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf)
With more than six million people currently in the U.S. living with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementia, caring for this population involves caring across all settings and with a multidisciplinary healthcare teams in place throughout the disease course, and must be grounded in the patient and family. Building a prepared workforce with this expertise is imperative.
Improving your ability to translate research: One of the program’s focuses is to teach students to be critical consumers of scientific literature. You’ll become familiar with various research models and what those models can tell you about your patients. Knowing how to analyze the evidence behind specific treatments and approaches will enhance your ability to effectively help patients and family affected by dementia.
Flexible, collaborative online platform: All three courses are taught online. They are structured around weekly modules, each with a separate topic. Yes, there are deadlines, but our online platform—Husky CT/Blackboard—is synchronous, as well as, asynchronous, enabling you to work at your own pace and on your own time, at home or within the workplace with some scheduled meetings. The platform creates a highly interactive, collaborative experience. How? Faculty members post questions and opinions to a discussion board to which students add their responses—and can respond to each other, providing invaluable feedback and insights. In addition, students have the opportunity to critique important research findings and make presentations to their classmates, who can give feedback, fostering confidence and team building.
Diverse student population: Because the program is available online, we attract a rich diversity of students, such as nurses specializing in palliative care, clinicians working with adult patients in economically depressed areas, research scientists, APRN's, social workers, occupational therapists and many others within healthcare related fields. With the collaborative nature of our online platform, students are able to benefit greatly from the diverse experiences of their classmates. Each student brings his or her own experiences to the table—so important because of the complexity of dementia issues.
Immersion in research-informed content: UConn is designated as a R1 Research University, the highest designation of research activity. As such, the content of the program is developed by a community of UConn scholars and faculty conducting cutting-edge research right here at our Storrs campus and affiliated medical centers. So the knowledge you gain is based upon the best available evidence of what’s likely to be most effective with the populations of individuals you will be working with.
Certificate credentials are UConn credentials: Just like every undergraduate and graduate degree our students earn, every online graduate certificate we award bears the signature of the University of Connecticut—it’s your assurance that your credentials come straight from one the nation’s Top 25 Universities. And all courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach our on-campus undergraduate and graduate-level courses. Many are tenured and each brings a wealth of real-world work experience to “class.” And they are committed to continually adapting the curriculum to reflect the latest trends and treatments in dementia care.