I’ve been thinking about a few simple mantras or tips to improve aged and dementia care, and would love for others to add to the list, or improve on these tips or make other suggestions. It is easy to believe we are providing good care, but not so easy to listen to feedback that says otherwise.
As a student, I read online discussions from clinicians working in the dementia sector, who are quite sure their organisation is providing person centred care, but often after I have asked questions, or commented as a consumer, they start to think otherwise. It is a healthy learning environment, and it seems feedback at this level is more easily received than in clinical practice.
- Don’t be defensive when you receive negative criticism
- Turn off the TV’s
- ALWAYS speak to the person with dementia first, and include them in their care and lifestyle planning
- Consider deeply whether your organisation is more about being Purse-centred vs Person-centred care
- Stop using restraints – physical or pharmacological
- Educate your staff more about dementia, and update their knowledge annually as a minimum. The University of Tasmania has a FREE online MOOC course, Understanding Dementia
- Employ speech pathologists to assist people with language and speech impairments (I have been discussing this issue with some members of state (WA/SA and Federal) government, and am hopeful they will change funding for them in the aged and dementia care sector)
- When building a new facility, ALWAYS use the Dementia Enabling Environments guidelines, including having gardens accessible to residents (I believe this should be legislated, as currently in Australia only 50% of new builds bother to do this)
- Encourage the children of older people in your care to “act like adults” when it comes to their parents wanting to have a sex life
- Provide residents with daily exercise programs, including rehabilitation, speech pathology, OT and physiotherapy