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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : vitality April 25, 2015

10/27/2013 6:01:00 AM
RAISING THE BARState of Arizona increases educatio
State of Arizona increases educational requirements for certified caregivers
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily CourierMeadows of Northern Arizona Instructor Melissa McKenzie watches her students Christine Mercurio, left, and Debra Jacobs lift fellow student Dugan Begay with a Hoyer Lift Tuesday afternoon in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Meadows of Northern Arizona Instructor Melissa McKenzie watches her students Christine Mercurio, left, and Debra Jacobs lift fellow student Dugan Begay with a Hoyer Lift Tuesday afternoon in Prescott.
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Tasha Cushman of Paulden has been in the caregiving field for half of her 33 years, and most recently worked in a private residence for four years.

Cushman said she learned that the state board of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers has doubled the educational requirements for certified caregivers, or CCGs, to 104 hours. The new rule went into effect Aug. 1.

That requirement prompted her to enroll in a three-week course at a nonprofit, The Meadows of Northern Arizona Inc., in Prescott. The Meadows class, which is 120 hours long, concludes next Friday.

"It is a like a refresher (class)," Cushman said during a break from an afternoon session Tuesday. "I pretty much know everything I am doing."

Cushman is among seven women and two men ranging in age from 18 to 55 who are taking the course. It is the only class in the quad-city that the NCIA has approved, according to the NCIA's website.

Students include new-comers and others who have been caregivers for 20 years but never became certified, said Joyce "Lolly" Masterson, executive director and an instructor at The Meadows.

Deann Bristol, 48, of Prescott Valley said she has been a housekeeper in an assisted-living center for three years and signed up for the class because she believes she has a knack for becoming a caregiver.

"I have been told that I can have the caregiver bug," Bristol said.

She said she is receiving "very good training," adding her instructors are answering all her questions.

Caregiver work might suit Dugan Begay, a 36-year-old former Marine who has worked in construction for about two years.

"I wanted to be able to go home every day to see my family," said Begay, who has three children.

Begay, a Navajo who moved to Prescott Valley from Tuba City in February, said he does not feel awkward about being outnumbered by women in the caregiver class because he grew up with five sisters - and two brothers - and served with women in the military.

Caregivers who complete the class will enhance their chances of getting better jobs, Masterson said, while acknowledging pay starts at $9 to $9.50 an hour.

Masterson, who began the school in 2008, said the expanded courses cover topics more extensively.

"The main thing that changed is the amount of hours because they were not getting enough training," she said.

Masterson, who also

operates the 10-bed PineView Adult Care Home LLC in Prescott, said the class teaches supervisory, personal and directed care.

Supervisory care entails entering a home and providing care such as opening mail, doing laundry, housekeeping and errands but not touching the client, Masterson explained. Personal care involves tasks such as lifting clients out of bed and helping them shower.

Directed care includes the above tasks and might involve taking care of people who have Alzheimer's and other memory loss conditions, Masterson said. CCGs who do directed care might stay with the clients until they die.

Directed care also entails administering medication.

CCG students on Tuesday practiced skill demonstrations, including transferring a patient (using a female mannequin) with a Hoyer Lift.

"They learn how to comb hair," instructor Melissa McKenzie said. "They learn how to give then a bed bath" and change adult diapers.

The students will spend two days next week doing a clinical in which they will enter a care home or other facility to observe and learn hands-on care, Masterson said.

"They will be doing showers and dressings and feeding" and learning how to do paperwork, she said.

Masterson said the class will conclude with a 62-question, multiple-choice test that a state-approved proctor will administer. The exam is not difficult and students have 90 minutes to complete it.

Besides completing the class and passing the exam, students must obtain a tuberculosis skin test, a CPR/first-aid certificate and a food-handlers card, and get fingerprinted, according to Masterson.

Her next class will begin

Nov. 4. For more information, call 778-3570.

Follow reporter Ken Hedler on Twitter @KenHedlines.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Article comment by: John London

... In Nov. of 2013 you wrote article titled "State of Arizona increases educational requirements for certified caregivers " You should do a follow up story about The Meadows of Northern Arizona. They Started their Certified Nursing Assistant Program on Jan. of this year. My wife (Rosie London) is the instructor and has been an RN in Prescott for over 30 years.

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