New Diploma of Dementia Care Leadership

Today was an eye opener, although I work in this industry for the last 9 years, it was quite overwhelming to be confronted with the feelings I experienced today.I am looking forward to the next 12 months, hoping to bring a lot of confidence into work and make changes that really matter to the lives of our residents.” – student of our diploma intake September 2014 about our Dementia Experience on Day One.

This new nationally recognised qualification is for dementia care leaders to build skills for leadership in modern dementia care and to learn contemporary knowledge of dementia.

To find out more about this unique learning experience go to for our course information brochure for our March 2015 intake. Places limited to 15.

SOFI2 used for direct observation of residents in Australian aged care homes

SOFI2 is now being used by the Australian Aged Care Accreditation Agency to directly observe residents during their accreditation visits.

This is a marvellous step forward as it introduces evidence of resident wellbeing (or otherwise) and staff care behaviour into the mix when they are considering compliance. And isn’t the very reason you provide care so that the resident experiences a life worth living, i.e., wellbeing?

SOFI2 is a scaled down version of Dementia Care Mapping and has been designed by the University of Bradford Dementia Group in the UK. If you wish your staff to be familiar with the observations that are to be used by the assessors and the way they are interpreting their direct observations it may be helpful to have some of your staff trained in Dementia Care Mapping. DCM courses are available throughout Australia with McCarthy Psychology Services. Contact us to discuss your needs.


Better Practice Conference Sydney

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at the Sydney Better Practice Conference on Decision making and Sex in Dementia Care: What to do when.

I shared the decision making chart “Is it OK?” which I created to support care staff in those moments when they are faced with making decisions about whether or not to allow or support or prevent a person having a close interaction with another person with dementia. This decision making flow chart has several key moments in it where the staff member has to confront the matter of consent, competency or capacity. Does the person with dementia have the capacity to make this decision to engage in this interaction with another person.

As many of you will know I take the approach that the person has the capacity to let me know in their behaviour that they feel good right now sitting with, touching, being touched by the person they are with. If they are showing behavioural signs of wellbeing then they are indicating to me that they are agreeing to participate in this interaction.

The Positive and Negative Signs Scale (PANSiS) is a simple and easy to use tool that I have developed to assist and guide staff to measure the presence of wellbeing or illbeing. If the person is showing illbeing rather than wellbeing then you have documented evidence of the need to change the situation for them if they are not able to change it themselves – ie remove them or draw them to something more pleasant and safe for them. They would need to be showing signs of freezing, displeasure, withdrawing, or other indicators of unhappiness with the interaction. Many people with dementia cannot work out what to do about a stronger person dominating them so we have to step in at that point to protect.

It was well received. Let me know what you do to respond to sexual behaviour in care situations.


DCM International Meeting Singapore

This week I am attending the Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) International Implementation Group meeting in Singapore.

There are 16 countries represented making it a real united nations experience. This group led by the University of Bradford Dementia Group maintain this quality improvement tool that is regarded world wide as “best practice” in the measurement of person centred dementia care.

In Australia DCM is not widely used but is effective in the pockets of aged care homes where it is used to great effect by the mappers. Over 750 people have been trained in thee use of the tool in the ten years since it was introduced by Virginia Moore and Kim Wylie. We at MPS hope it can continue to grow and become more widely known in aged care in Australia.

Some have suggested it is too expensive but when compared with the waste of money that goes into most training these days (that is ineffective in bringing about behaviour change in staff, which is the main aim of training is it not?) DCM is an economical method of implementing person centred change in cycles over time. The cost of maintaining trained mappers and giving them the time to map should be seen as an investment that is recouped every time they map.

More tomorrow as the meeting unfolds…



Person centred care is…

…best seen in the care your staff have for each other. If this is happening it is likely that they are also caring about the person with dementia. If they are interested in each other and notice how each other feel and take each other into account, make adjustments for each other – this is the best marker or predictor of person-centred care.

Life Matters Radio National talks dementia with Bernie McCarthy

Download this mp3 file (link below) to listen to Bernie McCarthy talking with Richard Aedy on Life Matters on Radio National today. They are discussing Bernie’s recently published book Hearing the person with dementia: Person centred approaches to communication for families and caregivers.

Radio National interview 25052011