Flinders University has received a $1.45 million Federal Government grant to rollout a dementia care training program in aged care homes nationwide.
The investment will fund the distribution of an e-learning resource to every aged care facility in Australia over the next three years, facilitated by 30 workshops across all states and territories and a web-based support service to help staff use the resources.
The Personalising Practice Resource Kit includes:
A CD of practical information and tools to help aged-care staff improve dementia care across 19 themes, including strategies to enhance independence, wellbeing and meaningful activities through to simple environmental changes;
A CD with 26 short video messages about person-centered care as well as an accompanying training manual and;
A video featuring the experiences of aged care staff using the resource.
The e-learning kit was originally designed and developed by Flinders researchers in collaboration with seven rural nursing homes in Victoria between 2008 and 2010, as part of the Federal Government’s Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care program.
Dr Sam Davis, acting head of the University’s Palliative and Supportive Services Discipline, said the resource is a simple, direct way of helping aged care staff translate best practice research into effective approaches they can use in their everyday work.
“The Personalising Practice Resource Kit is designed to support staff in aged care facilities to improve dementia care by putting their knowledge into practice,” Dr Davis, who helped develop the kit, said.
“A lot of staff recognise there are things they could do better but they don’t know how to facilitate those changes so these tools will help make their jobs a bit easier and empower them to enhance the care they already provide,” she said.
“The resource is also very flexible and easy to use – individual aged care workers can draw on the information whenever they want and educators can use the kit to run small training groups based on particular topics.”
Dr Davis, a social gerontologist, said education was essential to the future of aged care.
“Dementia is a major health issue in Australia and will remain a significant issue for years to come because there is currently no cure.
“This means dementia care is really important and if we don’t do it right it can be expensive and distressing for everyone involved.
“We’ve recognised there’s more we could be doing to support staff to better care for people with dementia – and thanks to this investment we will now be able to provide education to a critical mass of aged care staff across Australia, which is essential in changing the way care is delivered.”
The project, which will run from July 2013 to June 2016, is being funded by the Department of Health and Ageing’s Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund.