Patients are at the centre of a “person-centred” approach to dementia care, in which health staff were recently trained across the Macedon ranges.
Allied Health staff and nurses at Cobaw Community Health, Macedon Ranges Health, Kyneton District Health and Macedon Ranges Shire Council recently participated in dementia care training, in partnership with Bendigo Health.
A strengths based approach is at the centre of the program, empowering the person with dementia and their careers, regional dementia nurse consultant Libby Wade said.
Staff have been encouraged to look at the capabilities of people with dementia, and focus on these in their care.
“The way we look at it, everyone can do something. Even if it’s listening to music, even if it's having a massage,” Ms Wade said.
“You’re putting the person at the centre of the care, and you’re building what they need around that.”
The training aims to expand staff knowledge and skill, to improve the quality of life and provision of care for people living with dementia and their carers.
Training such as this will help staff to identify the early warning signs of dementia, and link patients into the health system earlier.
In 2018, Dementia Australia estimates there are 425,416 Australians living with dementia. This is expected to increase to 536,164 by 2025 and 1,100,890 by 2050.
The training program was a fantastic opportunity to train health staff in the Macedon Ranges, said Taryn McKerrow, Dementia Project Worker for Cobaw Community Health.
With increase in dementia diagnoses expected, creating a framework to identify people with dementia early is critical to providing suitable care.
Improved training means staff will be able to link families into the health service much earlier, allowing patients and their families to plan for the disease’s progression.
“People often don’t understand how serious dementia can be, and the fact that it is the second leading cause of death in Australia,” said Margaret MacDonald, CEO of Cobaw Community Health.
“Training some of our staff and the local staff about increasing their understanding of dementia, means we’ve just got a better framework for catching people and sending them onto geriatricians earlier.”