Meet our U-First! trainers

Our trainers are highly qualified and passionate people. Here are two who have devoted their lives to improving the state of seniors’ care in Canada and what they have to say about the U-First! program.

John Thomas, PRC Consultant at Baycrest:

My educational background is a BA in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in education (BEd) and a master’s degree in social work (MSW)

I have been teaching U-First! since 2006 and contributed to the revision of the program in 2011.  I decided to teach U-First! because it offers a comprehensive, yet simple-to-use framework for dealing with responsive behaviours associated with cognitive impairment.  I appreciate that it capitalizes on existing experience and expertise while providing potentially new information to better understand  behaviour.  One of its fundamental components is the often missed exploration of specific causes of behaviour.  U-First! compliments the P.I.E.C.E.S.™ program and template by using the same cause speculation paradigm, widely used  in several parts of Canada.  Furthermore, the use of dialogue education makes for a learning experience that is second to none.

What U-First! offers an opportunity to share experiences, reflect on knowledge already possessed and appreciate the vital importance of understanding that behaviour has meaning.  The case-based nature of the program guides caregivers in establishing a meaningful, person-centred plan for the individual displaying responsive behaviours.   During the session, learners are engaged in many different ways with a change in modality every few minutes.  So, there is “never a dull moment”.

Lisa Morasse, Alzheimer’s Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton Public Education Coordinator:

I became interested in teaching U-First! when I worked for Local Community Living and took the course myself. I was also a member of the Ontario Partnership for Aging and Disability. At the time, they were looking for community partners to assist staff of the Alzheimer’s Society to sign up. With my educational background in Development Service Work, Adult Education, and other  credentials in nursing, I fit the bill and was hired.

I feel the program is a great way to bring the Community and Health sectors together and show both sides they are more alike than different. I still feel strongly about that message but also how the program excels in inspiring teamwork. Everyone sees they have a role to play that assists the client in having meaningful life. Now I work for the Alzheimer’s Society as a Public Education Coordinator.

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