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Curriculum of Caring

CommunicateCARE: A Curriculum of Caring for People with Developmental Disabilities

A Curriculum of Caring for People with Developmental Disabilities: An AMS Phoenix Project

The Associated Medical Services (AMS) has awarded a fellowship grant to enhance and advance a Niagara-based initiative that introduces medical and nursing students to people with developmental disabilities.  Since 2008 Bethesda has hosted students from McMaster Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Niagara Regional Campus and Brock School of Nursing providing them with opportunities to meet with people whose lives are affected by developmental disabilities and medical or mental health needs. The students have benefited from interacting with children, adults, family members and professionals. The program evaluations have been uniformly positive and our Curriculum of Caring for people with developmental disabilities has received recognition beyond Niagara. The AMS Phoenix Fellowship grant is being used to create video-based resources aimed at fostering compassionate, person-centered care.

The Curriculum of Caring currently has three phases of valuable experiential learning:

  1. The first phase introduces learners to people who tell their own stories about their needs, experiences and what they want from health care professionals. Videos have been produced so the narratives and advice can benefit more people.
  2. The second phase emphasizes communication and clinical skills. We will be creating videos to illustrate how professionals can "CommunicateCARE" (Clearly, Attentively, Responsively and Engaging others as appropriate) and become more effective clinicians. 
  3. The third phase encourages application in health care settings. Medical students from McMaster, Niagara Regional Campus have participated in interprofessional team settings through Bethesda and McMaster Children's Hospital. The Curriculum of Caring will gather video and web-based resources to benefit any health care learner or professional who wants to learn more about how to provide excellent, compassionate and person-centered care to people with developmental disabilities.

 There are many opportunities to participate in the Curriculum of Caring. More information will be forthcoming through this blog.