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The Dementia Care Support Worker: enhancing care for people living with dementia in residential aged care


Lea, E and Robinson, A and Doherty, K and Hill, J, The Dementia Care Support Worker: enhancing care for people living with dementia in residential aged care, 2019 Tasmanian Palliative Care Conference, 14-15 November, Hobart, Tasmania (2019) [Conference Extract]

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Over half of the residents in Australian aged care facilities have a diagnosis of dementia (AIHW, 2012). People living with dementia have relatively high care needs in domains of daily living and behavioural support, which escalate over time (AIHW, 2012). At the end of life, residents with dementia are likely to experience a high symptom burden and require skilled palliative care often for months before death (Mitchell et al., 2009). It is vital that aged care facility staff are equipped to meet the complexity of the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs of this growing client population (van der Steen et al., 2014), yet gaps have been identified in staff dementia knowledge (Eccleston et al., 2019; Robinson et al., 2014). To address this, the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre created the Bachelor of Dementia Care. This presentation reports on a 2-year project funded by the Masonic Centenary Medical Research Foundation, Wicking Centre and Masonic Care Tasmania to explore the development, implementation and evaluation of a new Dementia Care Support Worker role for a care worker with a Bachelor of Dementia Care. The purpose of this role is to enhance knowledge of dementia and dementia care among staff and family and to support residents living with dementia by providing evidence-based, person-centred care. The project involved development of the role, evaluation of its impact and generation of a framework for modelling new aged care roles which capitalise on the strengths of care worker graduates of the Bachelor of Dementia Care. Interviews with staff held as part of the process evaluation suggested that the role was seen to add value as it provided new opportunities to trial evidence-based approaches to care, enabled direct referral at early time points, and assisted in connecting staff with contemporary dementia education and practice.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Nursing homes, care workers, professional role, dementia knowledge, qualitative research
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Aged health care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Lea, E (Dr Emma Lea)
UTAS Author:Robinson, A (Professor Andrew Robinson)
UTAS Author:Doherty, K (Dr Kathleen Doherty)
ID Code:144120
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2021-04-21
Last Modified:2021-05-10

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