New step for dementia care trialed at Maroochydore

Pilot program underway in Maroochydore.

Dementia care in Australia is set to be transformed with a new program launched across the country and being trialed on the Sunshine Coast to help create a network of leaders who specialise in helping people living with the condition.

The Dementia Knowledge to Action free training program is the initiative of Dementia Training Australia, the leading provider of courses to help educate people who interact and care for people living with dementia.

The purpose of the program is to transform dementia care leadership in Australia and create a culture of learning in care facilities. The program began with three innovative pilot courses starting late February at Maroochydore, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Designed for leaders and supervisors in care facilities, each pilot consists of 24 participants who are undergoing intensive training over four months to enhance the necessary skills required in dementia care, practice change, leadership, and changed behaviour. This includes behavioural management, resilience training, and practical experiences using face-to-face workshops, online modules, and immersive VR simulations.

“We are cultivating a community of leaders who will champion change and continuous improvement in their workplaces. They will be the go-to experts on staff who become mentors for best practice dementia care” Executive Director of Dementia Training Australia, Dr. Isabelle Meyer said.

A key highlight of the Dementia Knowledge to Action program is its accessibility.

“The free course initiative allows organisations to invest in the ongoing improvement of care services,” said Dr. Meyer.

The innovative VR technology in the program provides participants with firsthand experiences of living with dementia, fostering empathy and enhancing their ability to improve care quality.

“Dementia Training Australia uses VR to help participants experience what it feels like to have dementia. The goggles alter the individual’s hearing, vision, and perception. They also allow participants to experience what different medications and care approaches feel like for the person living with dementia,” said Dr. Meyer.

“It’s an immersive learning tool that empowers the individuals to drive meaningful change within their organisations and leads to improved quality of care for people living with dementia.”

The course includes practical projects such as how to redesign a living and garden space for people living with dementia and how to manage personal care training for all staff, such as best practice showering and personal hygiene.

It also teaches participants on how to initiate a change project in their organisation while also dealing with behavioural management, de-escalation techniques and resilience training.

“Our goal is to empower participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to drive positive change within their organisations, ultimately improving the lives of individuals with dementia,” said Dr. Meyer.

With a target of training 100 Dementia Guides by June 2025, the Dementia Knowledge to Action program aims to significantly enhance the knowledge and expertise of dementia care professionals, ultimately improving outcomes for individuals living with dementia and their families. It is a national program and graduates receive a certificate of completion.

DTA offers more than 100 free courses and training programs. For more information or to see what courses are available visit the Dementia Training Australia website.

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