4 thoughts on “Fixing dementia care – Ep2 – Pt4

  1. Thank you Bernie to give me the opportunity to view these films. It highlights to me once more how dependant on quality of staff, staff sensibility and knowledge is the quality of dementia care. It also shows clearly that if the management has the right philosophy, and implement it truthfully things can change for the better quite rapidly!!!

  2. It is with a sad heart that I recognize the same too frequent practices that are still occurring in Australian Aged Care Facilities as those featured in this series.

    I have worked in the industry for over 30 years but my eyes were not opened to the plight of those residents diagnosed with Dementia until 10-15 years ago when I was mentored by a great advocate of the client with dementia. At the time I was managing a dementia specific home for the visually impaired. Unfortunately the home was sold off privately and management changed and the culture changed with it.

    Since then I have worked in the public sector where we had no dementia specific unit and the needs of those with dementia were not considered a priority. A new facility was built recently and they lumped a 10 bed dementia specific unit in the middle of a 30 bed aged persons mental health unit with no special considerations for these people at all. The manager of this unit must be psych trained but does not require any dementia training.

    I now work in a community role and visit many dementia specific units and I am usually very disappointed with the care I see while I am there. I am frequently asked to recommend specific homes but so far I have not seen any I feel I could recommend.

    My daughter is doing her nursing training and has just had her first clinical experience which was in an aged care facility. She came home one night upset because her tutor had reprimanded one of the other students for giving a resident a cuddle when the resident found out her husband had just passed away. What sort of culture is this developing in our young nursing leaders of the future.

    Bernie, you do a wonderful job but we need to reach a wider community for it to work. We need to
    1. Get in at the ground floor & teach person centered care at all of our nursing education centers. Have a specific module devoted to person centered care for the dementia resident.
    2. Run a program especially for owners & managers of all nursing homes & make it a compulsory requisite before owning or running an aged care facility (wishful thinking I know).

    I would love to get back to the coal face of dementia care but I have burnt out too many times when trying to make a difference.

  3. Organisational culture is one aspect of this story but there are other underlying factors that influence culture beyond individual dementia/aged care facilities. For example UK social policies that limit carers’ abilities to effectively straddle both work and family life.

    Why did the night-duty staff need to take a nap “in their break” (or for longer)? Were they having to work 2 jobs to make ends meet? Were they caring for elderly parents at home themselves as part of their own culture’s expectations?

    Why is sexual abuse in aged care so difficult to raise within the facility … is it taboo like ‘death’ or ‘euthanasia’ is? Do staff get physically abused in their work? Are they able to be supported if/when disclosing challenging situations? Ethical dilemmas and issues of integrity abound in this UK series.

    The latest Aged Care in Australia Report by the Productivity Commission is worth looking at to see the way policy makers are thinking at present for future aged care in Australia. Mmmmmm…..

    Keep up the great work Bernie!
    Mary Tehan

  4. This whole journey has been fantastic food for thought. I have forwarded each episode to various key staff where I work, and they have all been hanging on the next instalment! It has made me grateful that we in Australia are where we are as far as funding goes, and that we are required to accept a certain amount of supported residents. This is more what dementia care was like here in the 70’s and 80’s when I first started in aged care, so we have definitely progressed since then. Maybe I am naive, but I would hope that I would never come across anything like this in Australia. Having spouted about how good we are, there is a mind set with many inexperienced staff that is hard to change. On my wish list for the staff I manage, is dementia training for all. Unfortunately we are a part of a large organisation, and that is unrealistic, as we are not dementia specific, and so cannot justify to the suits. But I chip away at the coal face with little thought provokers like this. Some staff are showing a great interest, and I will be directing them to further explore this field as often as possible. I have selfish reasons for this, as I will probably be there soon myself!!

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