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New era in dementia care focuses on people
One of Queensland’s foremost aged care providers is leading the way in dementia care with the formation of an innovative person-centred care service at Mitchelton.
Churches of Christ in Queensland’s Centre for Excellence in Dementia Care will provide best practice, individualised, sustainable care focusing on a social wellness model, which targets the promotion of the quality of life for people living with dementia.
Churches of Christ in Queensland CEO Dean Phelan said the Centre for Excellence will better meet the needs of Queensland’s ageing population. “With the prevalence of dementia in Australia expected to increase four-fold in the next few decades, our organisation, through our division Churches of Christ Care, has self-funded the facility at Mitchelton. Our service will focus on dementia research and the provision of contemporary care and support for clients and their families,” he said.
“We recognise there is little Australian data to guide practice and assist in the development of appropriate facilities, so we have developed our own innovative ‘cottage life’ model of care. This model is a hybrid of a range of evidence-based practice concepts developed by us in partnership with the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology.”
Mr Phelan said Alzheimer’s Australia’s recent report reflects how little services focus on people as a whole. “Service providers are so immersed in the tasks of care such as toileting, feeding, medications and managing ‘inconvenient behaviours’, they forget the quality of relationship they can have with the person,” Mr Phelan said.
“Our ‘cottage life’ care model changes the climate of care to focus on the person as a whole. Early research indicates we have already achieved higher levels of person-centred care and quality of life for residents, particularly regarding social aspects such as participating in favourite activities and experiencing fun and enjoyment.
“We also found a promising small increase in job satisfaction for staff, and this is important because we know that happier staff means our residents are happier. Later, once changes in care have been fully embedded, we expect to find greater levels of improvements across these aspects and many others such as reduced hospitalisations, better dining experiences, and increased family involvement.”
The Centre for Excellence is part of the redevelopment of care facilities at the Churches of Christ in Queensland Campus in Mitchelton. The whole site will provide integrated accommodation, care and services to over 160 seniors. The original Moonah Park aged care hostel was converted into three 12 bed cottages to care for 36 residents who are living with dementia.
Mr Phelan said the Centre for Excellence provides an opportunity to further build on the already excellent services Churches of Christ Care provides for older people. “We will excel in dementia care by identifying, with each resident and/or their representative, excellent care strategies that truly focus on the whole person. We will also share best practice models of care, staffing and service provision with other organisations.”
Mr Phelan said Churches of Christ is eager to work with all levels of government to advance care for people as they age, especially those persons living with dementia.
“While Alzheimer’s Australia’s report is damning, we have an opportunity as service providers and regulators to work together more closely. Our model is client-focused running across all levels of care; it is innovative and producing great results for clients. It is something we want to share with the industry, funders, consumer organisations and regulators because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing – to provide the best care possible for ageing Australians,”
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Churches of Christ in Queensland is a group of mainstream Christian churches active for over 125 years. It operates a range of services through Churches of Christ Care.