Fostering Geriatric Sensitivity through Age Simulation

By Kati Stacy

Miranda Kessler, RN-BSN, is the Health Occupations Instructor at Nicholas County Career and Technical Center in West Virginia where she teaches 11th and 12th grade students. The program includes health science courses with the goal of the students obtaining their West Virginia State Nursing Assistant Certification at the end of the two-year program.

“We are in a very poor county with approximately 1000 students in grades 10-12,” said Kessler. “We have seven feeder schools from three counties. Our area is very poor and jobs are incredibly limited. Some students will leave to go to college, but statistics show that the majority of our students won’t leave. It is so important that we reach these students and teach them a skill that can be used to take care of themselves and their families.”

When looking for a product to begin teaching geriatric sensitivity, Kessler chose the RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator by Realityworks because she felt the included components were a great value for the money. Designed for secondary and post-secondary education programs, the Geriatric Simulator allows users to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges.

“When I told my principal about the simulator after seeing literature on it at a conference and he saw how excited I was to use and implement it into my program, he bought in immediately and ordered it for me with no hesitation,” she said. “When the simulator came, he was so excited about it, he was actually the first person to try it! He was amazed by how it changed his normal routine activities and made everything feel much
more physically demanding.”

Kessler thought her students could really get good use out of the Geriatric Simulator and learn from the experience of wearing it.

“I wanted to be able to teach my students to be more understanding and empathetic with the aging process once we made it into our clinical rotation at the local nursing home,” reflected Kessler. “I wanted them to understand why the residents moved so slowly and I wanted them to learn to be patient and kind while working with them.”

Students in Kessler’s class are introduced to the Geriatric Simulator during their unit on growth and development and the aging process. During note taking time, they dress in the suit, which includes a weight vest (adjustable, one-size-fits-most), ankle weights, wrist weights. elbow restraints, knee restraints, gloves and a cervical collar. They also wear the glasses to impair their vision while note taking to see how it inhibits them.

“Initially, the reaction is, “This can’t be that bad,” or they laugh and giggle while gettingdressed in the simulator,” said Kessler. “After wearing the suit for the recommended 20-30 minutes though, their feelings generally start to change.”

Kessler said she sees the students becoming tired and their actions becoming slower and more purposeful throughout that time.

“Many of the students say that they didn’t realize it would be so fatiguing,” she said. “I’ve never had a student complain after wearing the simulator though; I’ve always only had positive comments.”

“After wearing the suit,” Kessler continued, “I try to have a one-on-one conversation with each student and discuss the experience. How did you feel before and after? How did your body respond? How did your breathing change? What did you find most challenging? What did you do in an attempt to compensate for your deficits?”

Kessler currently has one Geriatric Simulator that her classes have been using since September, but she said if her enrollment continues to grow she may look into purchasing another if funding becomes available. She is also looking into adding Realityworks’ new Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit to her program through a grant she is writing. The kit features wearable components which provide users with age-related sensory changes to help with understanding common aging changes including: hearing impairment, geriatric arthritis and geriatric tremor.

“It is so important to get these kids to understand the pains and aches that our elderly generation feel every day, so that they can provide better care for our aging population,” reflected Kessler. “Even more than the physical aspect of aging, the mental and emotional status must be considered. These students can learn so much from the generation that we are now caring for – they can gain valuable life experience if they just slow down and listen and most importantly, respect the geriatric population.”

The Impact of the RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby

by Diane Ross, M.Ed., Senior Field Account Manager with Realityworks

As I work with teachers throughout the year, one of the most poignant moments of my career is showing teachers the RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby. Realityworks has been carrying the Drug-Affected Baby as a part of our RealCare™ Infant Health Trio (Shaken Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby and Drug-Affected Baby) for several years. This past year we added a new unit in the curriculum that covers Methamphetamine, which makes this product more relevant than ever before.

We’ve all seen the news stories of young parents, passed out in their cars, using meth, while their young children are present. Children are losing their parents in an alarming rate in our country overall to drug abuse.

Recently, my college coach, who is now the Executive Director of the School of Medicine at Marshall University, my alma mater, posted a news story created by a classmate about the increased drug problem in Huntington, WV. After watching the news story, I saw the parallels to our own curriculum concerning drug affected babies and their families.

I am convinced that every student, whether in West Virginia or any state, should see this video. It is not a dramatization, but reflects real lives, real people affected by heroin, meth and any other drug. Watching what this small town has had to do to combat the rising drug rate, as well as the rising number of infants born ‘drug addicted’ is alarming.

I challenge you, as a teacher, to spend a class period watching this video and discussing it with students. Many students will become child care givers and even more will become parents. Education is power. I think this lesson will be one of the most important. I welcome your comments and would like to get your feedback on how students have reacted and some of the conversations you have with your students. I’d like to share the comments in this forum, as well as in sessions you may attend or lead during your conferences and meetings.

As a teacher, you may underestimate your influence on society. I look forward to hearing your stories on how you continue to positively impact your students’ lives.

We would love to hear from you – please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Diane Ross, M.Ed. is a Senior Field Account Manager with Realityworks. She graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Broadcasting, then returned for a Master’s in Secondary Education.

Is RealCare® Baby Recognizing ID Tags?

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Ever have students who have just completed a full simulation mention that their Baby was not accepting the ID very well? Before running a test or a demonstration you can look at the student’s report and verify if there was an ID problem or not.

Start by looking at the Performance Overview box. There is more to this box than just the Performance Overview percentage.

img1 Look at the Proper Care section of the Performance Overview. This section is very important because it provides you with an idea of how attentive the participant was with the Baby. The Proper Care percentage is calculated by dividing the number of care events the participant properly responded to (left side) from the total number of requested care events (right side).img2

If you look at just the Proper Care section alone, you can tell the participant gave excellent care. You can also tell from the Proper Care box that we have a very attentive student by looking at the total number of times the ID was recognized against the total number of requested care events. In the example above the Baby requested 103 care events and the ID was recognized 109 times. The Baby will respond to the ID whenever the Baby is crying for a care event, fussy event, or mishandle event. If the total number of times the ID is recognized is greater or equal to the total number of requested care events it is an indication that any time the Baby cried for care the student was there to respond. It also indicates that the Baby is responding just fine to their ID.

To see guides, videos, FAQs and troubleshooting with RealCare Baby, visit our support page: http://www.realityworks.com/support/realcare-baby/

 

3 Reasons to Meet Us in Vegas for RealCare® Baby Basics and Best Practices

Every year, the Realityworks team journeys to the largest annual gathering of Career & Technical Education (CTE) professionals in a single location: the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION Conference. In fact, we start planning for this conference a good year in advance! For the first time, we are planning a pre-conference workshop on Wednesday, November 30 all about RealCare Baby. Designed for current and prospective users, this pre-conference session is an opportunity for you to learn from a subject matter expert in person! Why join us in Vegas on November 30?

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1. Get RealCare Baby program best practices. What are the best ways to engage students with RealCare Baby? How can you use this powerful tool to make an even bigger impact on your students? What are seasoned users doing to succeed? We’ll answer these questions and more!

2. Discover career exploration activities. Did you know that RealCare Baby can help your students prepare for careers in education and human services? Join us to get ideas and activities that will help you prepare your students for careers.

3. Get our NEW RealCare™ Preemie Baby. Have you heard? The RealCare™ Preemie Baby is our newest experiential learning tool. It’s modeled after a preterm infant born at 30 weeks and is designed to help students, caregivers and parents-to-be understand the unique challenges and often complicated medical problems that can be associated with preterm birth. By attending our pre-conference workshop, you’ll receive a complimentary Preemie Baby from Realityworks!

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What: RealCare® Baby Basics and Best Practices
When: Wednesday, November 30, from 1-5:00 p.m.
Cost: $150

Ready to register? Visit the conference website here.

Mac Users: Follow These Steps to Update RealCare® Control Center Software

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

TeacherAtComputer-233wide

Updated RealCare® Control Center Software is vital for RealCare Baby® infant simulator users. After all, without the software users are unable to program Babies, customize individual simulations, track care events or receive simulation reports.

Occasionally, Mac users will encounter this error when updating or installing Control Center Software:

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This occurs because of a security feature on most Mac computers. The feature prevents apps and programs from being installed unless they are from the Mac App Store. The good news is that you can turn this feature off in order to update or install your software!

Prerequisites
• You must be at your computer
• The Control Center installer must be in your download folder

Steps to Perform
To turn off GateKeeper:

  1.  Open “System Preferences” from the Apple menu
  2. Choose “Security & Privacy” and then click the “General” tab, followed by clicking the lock icon in the bottom left corner to unlock the setting
    • If the lock cannot be clicked, you will need to contact your Network Administrator
  3. Look for “Allow applications downloaded from:” and choose “Anywhere”screenshot2
  4. Accept the security warning and allow
  5. Try reopening the Control Center Software installer
    • It is possible you may have to do this step again when you install the serial driver

Additional Product Support resources like video tutorials, documentation, webinars and FAQs can be found in our online Product Support Center. If you need further support, contact our Product Support Team by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

[Free Download] Measure the Efficacy of Your RealCare Program

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

GirlsWithRealCareBabies-400wide

According to the US Department of Education, research-based instructional programs are defined as programs that withstand the test of standard scientific testing practices. Their conclusions can be replicated and generalized. By this definition, Realityworks®, Inc.’s RealCare™ Program is a research-based program.

The RealCare Program is a powerful combination of innovative curricula with the most advanced infant simulator available. Evidence collected over the years indicates that the program offers a highly effective approach to preventing teenage pregnancies and teaching parenting skills. For decision-makers who are considering the RealCare Program, the obvious question is: Does it meet the stringent evidence-based requirements tied to federal funding? The answer is “yes.”

But you don’t have to take our word for it. We offer several ways for you to measure the efficacy of your own RealCare Program.

Using the Healthy Choices: Relationship, Sexuality and Family Planning curriculum? It includes a Survey and Self-Assessment that you can give to students before and after you administer the program and simulation experience. By comparing the results before and after, you can gauge how their attitudes about themselves, their sexual activity, and their views about parenting changed over the course of instruction and participation.

Additionally, all four RealCare Program curricula offer Pre- and Post-Summative Assessments that measure objectives learned from the program. Using these assessments, you can collect evidence of knowledge gained through participation in the lessons and simulation experiences of your own RealCare Program.

Ready? You can access the Healthy Choices survey and self-assessment here (or find it in Unit One, Lesson One of your Healthy Choices: Relationship, Sexuality and Family Planning curriculum). Again, pre- and post-summative assessments are included in each RealCare curriculum.

Want to dig further into the research? We’ve made available a variety of individual research studies and their results here. You can also read our evidence of efficacy whitepaper here.

Our Response to a Recent Study

We were dismayed to learn last week that The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal, published a deeply flawed study of an infant simulator-based program that the authors inaccurately associated with RealityworksRealCare Program. The study had nothing to do with us, our curriculum or our RealCare Baby® infant simulators, nor are its conclusions about us credible.

The study has enormous flaws:

1) Our RealCare curriculum spans 14 hours of teaching time, whereas the curriculum used in The Lancet study, without consulting us, is two hours and 20 minutes. That’s not even a Cliff’s Notes version of ours. The curriculum and the infant simulators are an integrated product, just like a computer and software. The RealCare Program involves multiple learning activities, discussion and prolonged take-home simulator experience. You can’t gut the curriculum the way these authors did and expect good performance, or draw any inferences whatsoever about our program. At its most basic, science is supposed to be about comparing apples to apples.

2) The authors somehow failed to mention a key variable that occurred early in the course of the longitudinal study: In 2004, the Australian government introduced its controversial Maternity Payment Program, or “Baby Bonus,” to increase family size.

The program paid a lump sum of $3000 (eventually rising to $5000) to families earning below $75,000 following the birth of a child. Not surprisingly, overall teen pregnancy rates for women from 15-19 years – the same age as those being followed in The Lancet study – rose significantly after years of decline. Before the Baby Bonus was launched in 2004, birth rates for these women were declining steeply, at an average of 4.5% per year. Following the program’s launch, the birth rate for this age group increased 7.7% in 2005 and 13.5% in 2006. Why would one assume the girls in their study group, whose schools were poorer on average than the control group that did not utilize infant simulators, wouldn’t be incentivized by such a sum?

That, to us, is the proverbial hole big enough to accommodate a Mack Truck. Yet the study never mentions the Baby Bonus program or its potential impact on pregnancy rates. That’s astonishing.

3) Magnifying the effect of the above statement, the study groups were not matched. The group who received the infant simulators came from a significantly poorer socioeconomic group than the control group.

What distresses us most about this study, apart from the obvious flaws, is that it confuses a vital public health issue. Our RealCare Program, now used by two-thirds of U.S. school districts, has been adopted in educational institutions since 1995. In that same time frame, teen pregnancy has also declined. There are doubtless many reasons for this, and we believe one is the marked change in attitude toward teen pregnancy and parenting found in RealCare Program participants.

We encourage you to share your experience with the RealCare Program in the comments below.

Realityworks’ age simulation suit wins caregiver award

By Janelle Krause, Realityworks PR & Events Specialist

CaregiverFriendlyAward

EAU CLAIRE, Wis., August 1, 2016 –  Realityworks’ newest RealCare product, the RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator sensitivity suit, has received the 2016 Today’s Caregiver™ Friendly Award by Today’s Caregiver magazine. The Caregiver Friendly Awards are designed to celebrate products, services, books and media created with the needs of caregivers in mind. This award recognizes Realityworks’ understanding of the importance of supporting caregivers and their creation of a product that not only helps caregivers do their job, but helps improve the quality of elderly patients’ lives.

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Realityworks created the Geriatric Simulator to help prepare health care workers for careers in the rapidly growing geriatric healthcare field. The Geriatric Simulator is a wearable sensitivity suit that helps educate on topics related to aging and care for the elderly by enabling users to experience age-related physical challenges. It includes curriculum that can be incorporated into secondary and post-secondary education, nursing and health occupations programs to help users prepare for geriatric health care careers and to gain an understanding of what patients could endure.

“The Geriatric Sensitivity suit helps users develop empathy toward the elderly, a trait that studies show is key for success in elder care careers,” said Timm Boettcher, President and CEO of Realityworks. “We are proud to be recognized for the assistance our product can give caregivers and educators.”

Realityworks’ award will be announced in the September/October 2016 issue of Today’s Caregiver and on the magazine’s website, caregiver.com.

Learn more

For more information on the RealCare Geriatric Simulator, we recommend these resources:

About Realityworks, Inc.
Established 19 years ago to better address teen pregnancy prevention, parenting skills, child abuse and neglect through educational products, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition. Most famous for their RealCare Baby infant simulator (formerly known as Baby Think it Over or BTIO), Realityworks has developed several other programs over the last decade that address career preparation areas like business management, finance and entrepreneurship, and welding with guideWELD, a live welding guidance system. With simulators in 62 percent of U.S. school districts and programs in more than 90 countries around the world, Realityworks has made a worldwide impact. For more information, visit www.realityworks.com, or call toll-free 800-830-1416.

About the Caregiver Friendly Awards
Caregiver Friendly® Awards are presented by Today’s Caregiver magazine to celebrate outstanding books, media, products and services designed with the best interest of the family caregiver in mind. Today’s Caregiver magazine, launched in 1995, is published by Caregiver Media Group, which also produces the Fearless Caregiver Conferences, www.caregiver.com and The Fearless Caregiver book, which teaches caregivers how to become their loved one’s fearless advocates within the healthcare system.

10 Tips for Engaging Youth in Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Parenting Education [Infographic]

By Emily Kuhn

RealCare Baby® and our other experiential learning tools have been used in community education settings for over two decades to help young people make healthy choices about teen pregnancy, relationships, life skills and more. That means we’ve had over 20 years of conversations with maternal and child health educators about program ideas, tips and best practices!

These seasoned users are doing some exciting things to engage program participants, like inviting police officers and emergency technicians to present information in person about the dangers of leaving infants unattended in hot cars, and having program participants visit big-box stores to calculate the price of diapers, formula and other infant necessities so they better understand the cost of having a baby.

Check out the infographic below for 10 ways to engage young people in teen pregnancy prevention and parenting education programs.

Infographic

What unique ideas are you implementing in your program to engage young people? Share them with other readers in the comments below!

From our Product Support Team: 3 Steps to Transferring RealCare Baby® Report Data to a New Computer

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

TeacherAtComputer-233wide

Switching computers in time for the new school year? Follow these 3 steps to transfer old RealCare Baby® simulation reports to your new computer!

Step 1: Locate the data file that contains all the information needed to restore your RealCare® Control Center Software settings, Babies and Baby Report Data you’ve previously been using.

  • On a PC (prior to Vista):

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Realityworks\Control Center

  • On a PC with Vista:

C:\Program Data\Realityworks\Control Center

(Please note that it is Program Data, NOT Program Files)

  • On a PC (Windows 7 and 8.1):

C:\Program Data\Realityworks\Control Center

  • On a Mac OS:

hd/users/{your user name}/documents/realityworks/control center

In all cases, you are looking for a file called data.

Step 2: Save the data file onto a jump drive or a specific folder on your computer network, like a temporary folder.

Step 3: On your new computer, retrieve the data file and re-save it to the original path location.

If needed, share these steps with your IT technician to transfer old simulation reports to your new computer.

Additional Product Support resources like video tutorials, documentation, webinars and FAQs can be found in our online Product Support Center. If you need further support, contact our Product Support Team by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.