Thinking about the “very busy schedule” of informal caregivers, Politécnico da Guarda launches a course to “learn more” and share experiences

The Guarda Polytechnic Institute (IPG) launched a course aimed at training informal caregivers. After the publication of a digital white paper, is another tool that appears within the scope of the European project EducAGE – coordinated by the institution –, whose objective is to improve the skills of caregivers for the elderly.

The training presents a hybrid methodology: the online is now available for free to anyonebut there is the possibility of adding a face-to-face aspect, which should start this month, tells Expresso the teacher responsible for coordinating the project, Carolina Vila-Chã. This is because caregivers “feel the need to learn a little more, but also to share and talk with their peers about the various situations they are going through†, with associated “fear and fears†, reports the teacher.

So, to classes online lasting around ten to 15 minutes, which can be interrupted and resumed according to each person’s availability, there are discussion sessions with trainers “about what they learned, what kind of tips are available. to implement, what worked or not. “It will be a space for openness and conversation, in which caregivers can express what they are applying, their doubts and questions,†summarizes Carolina Vila-Chã.

Based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization’s Integrated Care Program for the Elderly, focused on promoting healthy aging, the course is organized into three modules . The first “is based on the prevention of functional decline†, that is, realizing which strategies it is possible to adopt in terms of physical and cognitive stimulation, nutrition or prevention of “decline of sensory systems†, such as vision and hearing, to “act prematurely†.

The second module focuses on the “management of geriatric syndromes†, which includes issues such as fallspressure ulcers or urinary incontinence. This is information that the caregiver “can be aware of†so that, on a daily basis, “it can help improve the quality of life†of the person they care for.

The third module focuses on the caregivers themselves, who “often†forget the importance of self-care. The objective is to “help them realize the need to take care of themselves, so that they can be better and also provide good care,†says the teacher. “If they are not well, the process becomes more difficult. It is important that people know how to take time to rest and recognize signs and symptoms of stress or even exhaustion†he adds. The chapter also addresses existing support, particularly in relation to the status of informal caregivers.

Since the topics are covered in a summarized way, taking into account the “very busy schedule†of caregivers, several external sources are also presented that allow us to delve deeper into the topics, such as reference documents from organizations in the areas of health and geriatrics. Exercises are also included, for example multiple answers or filling in spaces, to test learning. In total, the training has a duration of 32 and a half hours, of which seven and a half hours are face-to-face, and is available in five languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Czech and Hungarian.

O EducAGE is currently finalizing a third tool for caregivers: after the digital white paper and the course, the team is preparing a mobile phone application aimed at “more informal†learning on the same topics, but with â “quick tips†and “short videos†. Now that the project is approaching its end, the objective is to “publicize as much as possible†and “disseminate the materials†developed, to “try to reach as many people as possible†.

In addition to IPG, the group includes the Mountains Research Collaborative Laboratory (Bragança), the Minimum Invasión Jesús Usón Surgery Center (Spain), the Faculty of Medicine of the Semmelweis Egyetem University (Hungary) and the Czech faculties of Medicine at Karlova University and IT and Management at Hradec Králové University.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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