Sunday, 3 July 2016

Elder Care - this changes everything

3:30 pm Saturday 23rd July

Welshmans Reef Winery, Welshmans Reef

Aged Elder Care - this changes everything

Daniella Greenwood 

National Strategy and Innovation Manager for Arcare Aged Care

Growing old is an achievement and it needs to be celebrated, says Daniella Greenwood.

Daniella is taking us on an exciting and soulful journey through the possibilities inherent in our own hearts, and in the way we think about and support our most vulnerable citizens.

Growing old is a fate we'd rather not ponder: becoming frail, possibly having dementia, and living in residential care. But if it was your fate, what would you wish for?

Most people want to be surrounded by people they know and love.

Unfortunately, the reality tends to fall far short of this wish. Many people living in residential care share their environment with people they have never met before, and they are cared for by people they do not know.

As their dementia deepens, their confusion and distress is exacerbated by the fact that their carers change on a daily, even hourly basis. At a time in their lives where meaningful relationships matter most, they are surrounded by strangers.

One woman is working hard to change this She is an international key note speaker. Daniella is manager of strategy and innovation at Arcare, an Australian company with 19 residential care facilities in Melbourne, Queensland and South Australia.

She has pioneered an innovative and inspirational way to care for people with dementia.  It's called assigned dedicated staffing.

"The model is simple," she says. "We have asked staff to commit to working at least three shifts per week, and to commit to working with the same elders every time they come to work. This way, strong relationships can develop. This includes carers, cleaners, and catering staff."

In practice since late 2013, preliminary results indicate the model is having a profoundly
positive impact on elders, staff and families. Elders are more settled and secure being cared for by people they grow to know; staff are more satisfied caring for people with whom they form meaningful relationships, and families feel reassured knowing their loved ones are settled.

As one relative remarked: "For the first time in three years I can sleep in, because I know exactly who is there with Irene and I  trust them."

The unique model is also being praised by aged care experts, nationally and internationally.
Mr Michael Bauer from the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care described it as inspirational. "I would go so far as to say (it is) visionary for the aged care sector."

Ms Marie Sheahan from Charles Sturt University remarked that the model signaled great hope and optimism for the future of elder care.

Newstead local and organiser of this It’s Not Rocket Science talk, Neal Bethune, said the talk was not intended to be a promotional event for Arcare. "It is purely an opportunity for Central Victorians to learn more about innovations in aged care. After all, one day we may be on the receiving end of this service."

It Takes A Community - A relationship-focused approach to celebrate and support old age.

Wine and coffee from Julia and Ron

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