Alzheimer’s Australia 14th National Conference Brisbane

This week we are attending the Alzheimer’s Australia 14th National Conference in Brisbane. The theme this year is “Take a different view” of this condition that will affect an increasing number of older Australians in the years ahead.

Bernie McCarthy is presenting a workshop on “Sexuality and dementia: What are your needs“, a concurrent paper on “Pre-employment screening: Pre-employment screening: Predicting person-centredness in care staff” and a poster on “Successful e-learning in palliative care for rural and remote aged care homes“.

The keynote speaker this year is Prof. Steven Sabat, a psychologist whose books (The Experience of Alzheimers Disease: Life Through a Tangled Veil (Blackwell, 2001), and in his co-edited book, Dementia: Mind, Meaning, and the Person (Oxford University Press, 2006)) have opened up the subjective experience of the person with dementia and helped us consider how the person experiences dementia. We are looking forward to listening to him speak.

Also keynote is Prof. Raymond Tallis whose career as a clinician and scientist has explored human consciousness, and what it is to be a human being. His over 200 publications include textbooks: The Clinical Neurology of Old Age (Wiley, 1988) and Brocklehurst’s Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology (Harcourt Brace, co-edited with Howard Fillitt, 6th edition, 2003.

If you are attending this years conference please call in and say hello at our exhibition booth No. 20 where we will be selling Bernie McCarthy’s new book “Hearing the person with dementia: Person centred approaches to communication for families and caregivers”.

We look forward to seeing you at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Making dementia services better

Person-centred care has needed this book. Dawn Brooker, the former head of the Bradford Dementia Group and now head of the Association of Dementia Studies at University of Worcester, UK, has given us a simple yet profound model of person-centred care for people living with dementia.

This model is the VIPS model of person-centred care. We all know that a VIP is a Very Important Person. Brooker uses this popular acronym to describe the four core elements to a well-rounded understanding of person-centred care.

V = Value. Each person has value regardless of disability

I = Individualised. Care must be shaped to the particular needs and preferences of each person

P = Perspective. The person has a unique perspective on their life, feelings, ants and needs and this must be respected

S = Social. We are social beings who thrive in relationships of respect and understanding.

Brooker explores the practical implications of this model for care homes and for people providing care in their own home. However the focus is mostly towards care homes and professional caregivers.a model that is intuitively useful for explaining what person-centred care actually means in practice to caregivers who may think person-centred is what you do after you have your work done and have a little extra time to be kind and thoughtful. No, person-centred care is integral to everything you do. Its how you do what you do.

She then sets out a benchmarking process with detailed markers (24: Six for each of the four elements of the VIPS mode to help care homes to judge how they are progressing toward a more person-centred environment This is a valuable addition to the literature of benchmarking in aged care and brings person-centred markers into focus for those making decisions about the quality of care and the organisational supports that person-centred care needs if it is to take root in any organisation.

I highly recommend this book as a must have for the serious about person-centred approaches to the care of people with dementia