Why We’re Investing in Caregiver Training in The Mandt System — and How Your Loved One Can Benefit

Did you know that professional caregivers who work at facilities that provide memory care in Arizona are not required to receive dementia-specific training? Administrators at memory care communities must receive special training specific to dementia, but the actual caregivers do not.

Many people are surprised by that.

At Park Senior Villas, we recently made the decision to partner with Atlas Medical for several reasons. One of those reasons was the opportunity to have our staff undergo training in The Mandt System™.

We believe this additional training will complement and enhance the memory care and behavioral health care services our care teams provide. We also believe that all residents in our communities will benefit, not just those who are with us for memory care.

If you’re looking into options for senior living in Arizona, we’re excited to share information about this new development with you. Read on and you’ll see why.

What Is The Mandt System?

In a nutshell, it’s a person-centered, values-based process developed to encourage positive interaction with others. It can be applied in a variety of settings, including the workplace, classrooms, law enforcement agencies, healthcare facilities, and even the family home.  

The intent is to create an environment in which residents can say, “In this place, and with these people, I feel safe.”

The Mandt System teaches concepts that can be used to manage behaviors that are often deemed challenging. Examples of these behaviors are isolation and withdrawal; verbal and physical aggression; behaviors that indicate agitation, such as pacing, rocking and other repetitive movements; and refusing to eat or bathe.

The focus is on prevention, early interaction, and de-escalation before the behavior can become more pronounced. The process centers on three components:

  1. Healthy relationships
  2. Healthy communication
  3. Healthy conflict resolution

We’ll go into more detail about each of these components, but first, let’s take a brief detour. We want to show you how closely aligned The Mandt System is with one of our own core values: respect.

The Linchpin to Successful Relationships

In determining our core values, we asked our staff to consider what they believed was most critical to who we are as a community. “Respect” was among the responses they provided most often.

We then evaluated how respect factors into our day-to-day life at Park Senior Villas. This is what we came up with:

We believe that respect is the cornerstone of the relationships we build with residents and their families. Everything else — compassion, friendship, a greater sense of self-esteem, and so much more — flows from treating residents with the dignity they deserve.

And here’s the first part of a description of The Mandt System philosophy:

The entire philosophy of The Mandt System is based on the principle that all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Chuck Combs, the certified Mandt behavioral management instructor who trains and works with our staff members, alludes to this respect when he explains the importance of learning a new resident’s “story.”

Chuck says that in many cases when older adults move into a memory care community, they’re seen as just another dementia patient. But, he says, it’s important for staff to realize that each of these seniors has lived a life like everyone else. They had a job, raised a family, enjoyed a social life, and had interests they were passionate about.

We have always made it part of our process to meet with family members when a new resident joins us so we can learn about who they are.  

Having these detailed histories helps us appreciate each resident as a unique individual. It’s also useful in knowing how to interact with them on a meaningful level. As Chuck puts it, “It allows the caregiver to invest in the person.”

Chuck is now part of the team that assesses each new resident and meets with family members to get the whole “story” behind the person. Based on the evaluation and the history they gather, they develop a personalized care plan for the resident. If there are challenging behaviors that need to be addressed, the care plan will address those.

More About The Mandt System

As we mentioned earlier, three components form the foundation of The Mandt System. Let’s take a closer look at them.

  • Healthy relationships. We’ve already established that healthy relationships are rooted in treating one another with dignity and respect. The Mandt System also helps people understand the importance of basic human needs when it comes to building relationships. As part of the training process, caregivers learn to identify the basic differences between emotion and behavior — although they are often interrelated, they are not the same thing.
  • Healthy communication. Behavior is frequently used as a method of communicating, particularly when people aren’t able to express their thoughts and needs verbally. We see this with older adults who have had a stroke and in those who are experiencing memory loss. The Mandt System emphasizes the importance of positive communication in building strong relationships.
  • Healthy conflict resolution. Many times, we are tempted to avoid conflict. The Mandt System looks at conflict resolution as a problem-solving process that is necessary for healthy relationships. As part of the training curriculum, we learn that how we perceive things affects the way they communicate and solve problems. We also learn the value of practicing empathy.

Prevention and Early Intervention

One of our objectives in consulting with family members is to find out what may be usual behavior for a new resident. This helps us determine when there’s a change in behavior. We can also discover what might trigger certain behaviors. 

It’s important to note that a sudden behavior change may be caused by a physical or psychological problem. The National Institute on Aging lists the following as potential causes of agitation and aggression:

  • Pain, depression, or stress
  • Too little rest or sleep
  • A sudden change in routine (including new surroundings and people)
  • A feeling of loss (such as missing the freedom to drive)
  • Too much noise
  • Confusion
  • Feeling lonely or a lack of contact with others

A change in behavior could also be the result of medications the person is taking.

Fortunately, through our partnership with Atlas Medical, we’re able to offer integrated care that includes primary care and behavioral medication management. This means we can pinpoint what is causing the change in behavior and then create an appropriate treatment plan.

Ultimately, The Mandt System gives caregivers the tools they need to build deep and comprehensive relationships with the individuals they care for. This makes it easier to recognize when a change in personality or behavior begins. Think about it: When you know someone well enough, you can tell when something seems “off” — even if it’s only slightly off.

If a caregiver spots the change early enough, it may be possible to remove whatever is triggering the change. If not, they can rely on their training in The Mandt System to engage with the person and possibly suggest an alternative behavior. The training teaches caregivers to manage challenging behavior in ways that protect both themselves and the person who’s exhibiting the behavior. Afterward, they are trained to stabilize the person and eventually talk about what happened.

This process is known by the acronym RADAR: recognize, assess, decide, act, and review.

Keeping It Personal

We take pride in the level of personalized care we provide to all residents in our communities. By having our staff members trained in The Mandt System and partnering with Atlas Health, we can further customize the care we provide. 

This investment will be of particular benefit to residents who are with us for memory care. According to a Harvard Health article, behavioral and psychological symptoms affect up to 90% of people living with dementia. That same article cites research that found non-drug therapies to be more effective than medication in managing agitation and aggression in individuals with dementia.

We’ve seen the reassuring and calming effects of spending one-on-one time with residents, whether they’re in assisted living or memory care. We know that families do the best they can and that they would usually prefer to care for their loved ones at home. But at some point, the care that’s required is more than they can manage.

This is why another of our core values is devotion. We treat residents as if they were members of our own families. The loving bonds we form with them enhance their well-being — and ours.

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ll be integrating our staff training in The Mandt System with the services we provide, we hope you’ll contact us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

If you want, we can also arrange a time for you to visit the Park Senior Villas location nearest you.