Maintaining Excellence in Family Carer Training

Categories: Care Partners, Need to Know, Research|By |Published On: |

Quality training online can change attitudes and increase feelings of competence in family carers.

Validation is a way of connecting and communicating with older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. While the method has been proven to be effective in numbers of studies, we investigated the effectiveness of our pedagogy, or method and practice of teaching. Our Family Caregiver Course set out to change the way family members view the older adults they care for as well as give them practical skills that enhance communication. We first ran the course in 2019 with a group of family caregivers in Denver, Colorado, and the results from our pre and post surveys were significant and positive. We had reached our goals.

Then COVID hit. We needed to find a way to deliver the same quality training totally online. We turned to our advisor, a woman who has been working with online learning for over 30 years on a university level. Four intensive Zoom sessions replaced the 2 day in-person component of this training.

The course gives relatives who are caring for their loved one either at home or in long-term care, new ways of viewing their relatives and practical communication skills.

– Vicki de Klerk-Rubin

To our delight, pre and post surveys of this totally online iteration of the course were also significant and positive.  Course participants learned the foundational skills of the Validation technique: how to integrate centering into a daily practice, how to take a breath and observe their relatives before saying anything, and then get onto eye level finding a respectful distance and finally make eye contact. Each person evaluated their voice tone to make sure they were always using a respectful, adult-to-adult tone.

Once these prerequisites were in place, they learned to explore using rephrasing and open questions. Other Validation techniques like singing and using anchored touch were also practiced.

Either the online or in-person, Family Caregiver Course gives relatives who are caring for their loved one either at home or in long-term care, new ways of viewing their relatives and practical communication skills.


More information: Family Caregiver Course

More information: Validation Training Institute


Vicki de Klerk-Rubin is the Executive Director of the Validation Training Institute and is a Validation Master. She lives in The Hague, The Netherlands. She has a BFA from Boston University, an MBA from Fordham University and did her nursing degree at Higher Technical School of Amsterdam.

Together with her mother, Naomi Feil, she revised the books, Validation: the Feil Method and The Validation Breakthrough. She authored Validation Techniques for Dementia Care: the Family Guide to Improving Communication and a new workbook: Communicate with older adults with cognitive decline: Validation for First  Responders.

Since 1989, Vicki has given Validation workshops, lectures and training programs in Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States. She has also worked in nursing home facilities in Amsterdam, leading Validation groups and training staff. Vicki is proud of her contributions to the development of Validation certification levels, curricula, the VTI quality standards, guidelines, and the Authorized Validation Organization (AVO) structure for offering training around the world.