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Programs & Services - Free Classes

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we offer FREE classes designed for the families, friends, and partners of people living with serious illness. We offer comprehensive, 18-hour training on HIV/AIDS or cancer, and 12-hour sessions on brain tumors. You can take the entire series, or just the three-hour classes you need. Classes feature the practical skills and strategies that help caregivers deal with all life-threatening illnesses — from diagnosis, through treatment, to late-stage and end-of-life care.

We also offer special classes by request on elder care, caregiving within communities of faith, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and end-of-life care.

Classes are led by Celi Adams, RN, ONC — a nationally recognized leader in the caregiver training movement. She is assisted by an all-volunteer faculty of thirty working professionals — doctors, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, lawyers, and funeral directors.

Class Descriptions

1A. HIV/AIDS & Current Treatments: A Basic Guide for Medical Civilians (3 hours)
1B. Cancer & Current Treatments: A Basic Guide for Medical Civilians (3 hours)

An overview of how the disease works in the body; how it affects physical health; and the mental changes, including depression, delirium, and dementia that can be caused by the disease or medications. Covers current treatments, clinical trials, and complimentary therapies. Also teaches simple steps to make a home safer for someone who is mentally impaired.

2. How to Manage Symptoms and Side Effects (3 hours)
T.I.P.S (Tools, Ideas, and Practical Steps) that caregivers can master to minimize and/or manage fever, nausea, fatigue, night sweats, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, constipation, insomnia, and stress. Discusses mouth care, and care of the skin, for people with compromised immune systems. Helps students recognize a medical emergency, and when to call a doctor, or 911.

3. How to Maintain Nutrition and Control Pain (3 hours)
Includes practical strategies to maintain a healthy diet while coping with loss of appetite, nausea, and changes in the sense of taste or smell. Discusses options to control pain, including over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, compresses, massage, acupuncture, and other alternative or complimentary therapies (and where to find them locally).

4. How to Lift and Move Sick People and Provide Bedcare Safely (3 hours)
Learn how to safely lift, move and care for someone who has limited body control, is in pain, or is confined to bed. Students also learn: universal precautions; how to use durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, canes, walkers, commodes, hospital beds); how to bathe someone in bed, change their clothes and bed linens; and how to avoid pressure sores.

5. How to Get the Help You Need — When You Need It! (3 hours)
Includes a step-by-step plan to build a personal support team; how to navigate the medical care & social service systems; how to use medical professionals most efficiently; where to find free and low-cost services in the community; and practical strategies to pursue when someone says NO to something you need.

6. How to Enforce Your Wishes and Cover Your ASSets (3 hours)
Covers legal steps to take to ensure that an ill person's wishes are followed – including advance directives, wills, and durable powers of attorney. Discusses challenges faced by non-traditional families. Teaches, step-by-step, what to do when someone dies at home, and options for funerals and memorials.

7. Brain Tumor Classes
The Center for Caregiver Training, in collaboration with the National Brain Tumor Foundation, has developed an intensive training program designed especially for family members, friends and partners of a person living with a brain tumor. Four 3-hour classes cover these major topics: understanding brain tumors and their treatment, managing common symptoms and side effects, building a personal support network, accessing community resources, taking care of a home-bound person, and handling legal and insurance issues.