18 February 2016

5 Dementia care tips

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There is no cure and current treatments aren’t conclusive. It’s the disease that directly affects 47.5 million people worldwide. Its impact on family and friends can be akin to that of the loss of a loved one.

Progress towards a cure date? On July 22nd at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, in Washington, DC, researchers from big pharmaceutical, Eli Lilly delivered a cutting edge presentation on the discovery of an antibody that slows down the illness’s progression. The antibody is called solanezumab. This is in no way a cure but it does provide some glimmer of hope for a future cure and treatment for this insidious disease.

What about provision of care? In Australia there is a new case diagnosed every 6 minutes. Such a rapid increase of cases is placing increasing pressure on the age care system. Under 65s are also being diagnosed with greater frequency.

People living with dementia exist in a vulnerable state. Many benefit from being in residential or community care and find the opportunities to interact with others residents or staff very positive. However, there are still many cases where the basic human rights of people have been compromised within aged care settings due to inexperience and lack of resources. The challenge for both residential and home care providers is to ensure the best quality of care is delivered to the increasing number of clients presenting with dementia.

What can age care providers do to ensure high quality of care is delivered?

Based on Akolade’s leading Dementia Strategy Summit (include hyperlink to microsite here) here are 5 organisational tips for providing optimal care to people dementia complex consumers:

1. Embed an effective governance structure in your organisation
  • Map the current governance approach that underpins your dementia care. Then build up your leadership capacity to support this structure and enable growth.
  • Remember to actively evaluate the success of your programs
2. Instill consumer directed care principles into your care

  • Embed ‘relationship centered’ dementia care throughout your organisation and emphasise quality of life as a key objective of all care provided
  • Develop 3 way partnerships with people living with dementia, their families and your organisation.

3. Develop front line workforce competency to ensure best dementia care is delivered on the ground

4. Optimise funding opportunities from the commonwealth funded dementia programmes

5. Leverage new technologies there are more ways than ever before that aged care providers can leverage technology to provide high quality care. This is not only a great way to strengthen quality of care but also to innovate and differentiate your care services.

Start by:

Looking for connected eHealth solutions

There are software providers that are now connecting aged care providers with the wider health care sector. This enables aged care providers to access vital health care history for their clients and can be enormously useful especially when dealing with clients suffering from memory loss.  

Download assistive apps for care staff

From virtual fence trackers to activity and heart rate monitors and advice on how to keep consumers safe around their home. Many apps are free or can be purchase

Utilise software to reduce medication errors

By using an effective medication management systems, aged care providers are able to dramatically reduce medication errors and eliminate missed signatures. When dealing with people living with dementia this can be a very useful tool.

For additional resources check out Alzheimers Australia NSW’s Quality Dementia Care Research and stay tuned for further details about Akolade’s upcoming 2016 Dementia Strategy Summit!

From a young age Luana wanted to become a teacher. She would line up her teddies in a row and teach them for hours on end. However, she eventually grew tired of their nonchalance and has ended up leading a team of producers instead- which she finds far more fulfilling and stimulating!  
Luana comes from an experienced production and management background. She has produced and topic generated events across Asia and Australia.

Luana enjoys learning about emerging trends and drivers for change and loves the notion of the 'butterfly effect'- that change can start small but grow immeasurably through a ripple effect.

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