COVID-19, ID, and Dementia: Spring Series from The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices (NTG)

The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices (NTG) if offering limited registrations for the NTG COVID-19, ID, and Dementia 2nd Spring Series that is normally only available to the NTG Affiliated Regional Trainers. The registration cost is $30 for all 5 sessions in the series, and 80% of the registration funds received for this series will be donated to The Arc’s COVID-19 Disability Response Fund! The series will be recorded and available 48 hours after the live presentations.

Register for the full series and recording access at  

What’s Wrong with My Best Friend?: Explaining Dementia to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Witnessing It with Family and Friends 

May 12, 2020; 6:00 – 7:30PM EDT

In our professional efforts to provide support for individuals with ID/DD experiencing the onset of dementia we often overlook the “onlookers” with ID/DD. This session will serve to remind us of our obligation and responsibility to the those with ID/DD (without dementia) who are “onlookers and bystanders.” In short, we do not treat and support “someone” with dementia; but we treat “someone who knows someone.” It is an opportunity to understand the far reaching impact of the dementia experience and how to better prepare for the onslaught of anticipated and unanticipated questions.

Dr. Rader is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Task Force on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices. He is Board Certified by the American Academy of Developmental Medicine.

The Role of Ethics in Medical Decision-making

May 19, 2020; 6:00 – 7:30PM EDT

The COVID – 19 pandemic has stressed the US medical resources resulting when there is necessary decision-making around allocation of resources. Jeanne Kerwin, D.MH will discuss the role of ethical consultation in medical decision-making including the role of Ethics Committees in health care facilities. She will also discuss the ethical principles that guide allocation protocols of Critical Care Resources during public health emergencies and how these principles likely impact adults with IDD and dementia as well as their caregivers.
Jeanne Kerwin, D.MH, HEC-C is a Consultant on Bioethics and Palliative Care. Dr. Jeanne Kerwin has been a leader in bioethics in New Jersey and at Atlantic Health System since the 1980’s, serving as Chairperson for the hospital ethics committee and as the Manager of Bioethics and Palliative Care for the five-hospital system. She was a founding partner in the hospital’s palliative care program beginning in 2002 and has personally provided bedside bioethics and palliative care consultations to hundreds of patients, families, and medical staff over the past 30 years. She has been a leader in the State of New Jersey in the development of bioethics training for EMS professionals, long term care staff, hospital staff and the intellectual/developmental community.

Dr. Kerwin holds a BS in Public Health from Rutgers University, a Masters and Doctor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics from Drew University, a Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities from Columbia University and is a Faculty Scholar in the Palliative Care Education & Practice program from Harvard Medical School. She is nationally certified by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities as a Health Care Ethics Consultant and is a faculty member in the Graduate Program for Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Drew University.

What Are Your Wishes? How to have Goals of Care Conversations (Michele Carignan, RN)

May 26, 2020; 6:00 – 7:30PM EDT

Michele Carignan, RN will discuss the steps to help families and caregivers plan for the very difficult decisions especially during the COVID – 19 pandemic. She will discuss the types of Advanced Directives and their function as well as provide guidance and resources on advanced directives. She will also define Advance care planning with some helpful hints and practical tips during this very difficult time.

Michele Carignan is a Registered Nurse, Palliative and Hospice Clinical Liaison who has devoted her 20-year career in raising the level of quality education in all entities of our healthcare facilities. Personally she has had the privilege of sitting with hundreds of families to discuss their end of life wishes. She is a Certified Dementia Practioner CDP, Assisted Living Administrator and a National Task Group Affiliated Regional Trainer for Down syndrome and IDD with Alzheimer’s.

Care for the Caregiver: Recognizing and Managing Stress during the COVID – 19 Pandemic 

June 2, 2020; 6:00 -7:30PM EDT

This panel discussion will address topic of caregiver support during times of crisis. Self-care strategies for management of physical and emotional stress, as well as understanding and managing the grief process during times of loss will be included.

Helen Stepowany, MS is the former Director of the Kennedy Willis Center at Pathfinder Village, an intentional community that supports adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in particular adults with Down syndrome. With more than 40 years in the disabilities field, Ms. Stepowany is an adjunct faculty member in the graduate program in health administration at Utica College in Utica, New York. She is an NTG Master Trainer and NTG Steering Committee member where she co-chairs the Evaluation and Measures subcommittee.

When will I get sick?: How to provide education and counseling to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the COVID19 pandemic

June 9, 2020; 6:00 – 7:30PM EDT

The COVID19 pandemic has had an impact on everyone in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. While our individuals may not fully understand the new “normal,” they understand when their routine is disrupted. We need to provide education and counseling to them to avoid anxiety, stress and behavioral setbacks. They also need to know and practice CDC Guidelines on best practices to mitigate the risks inherent in this pandemic. Overall providers need to understand how to promote and practice positive and constructive environments.

Patti Wade is the Director of the Orange Grove Center on Aging, Dementia and Longevity, Chattanooga, Tenn.