Relationship Centred Dementia Care Online Presentation


The Dementia Australia National Symposium Series 2020 – Dementia care is quality  was delivered as an online series of six weekly virtual events, commencing 4 August. It had originally been intended to be delivered as an in person event in Sydney.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said about the series “Offering the webinar series for free is our contribution to supporting the aged care sector through this difficult time to enable a greater level of engagement than would have been possible with the original event.”

Hospital, hotel or home? What does relationship-centred quality look like and how do you know you’re delivering it? was presented by Dr Lisa Trigg, Assistant Director of Research, Data and Intelligence at Social Care Wales (UK), on 25 August.

“A relationship-centred approach to quality is the best type of quality, where the person needing care is treated as an individual with his or her own personality, regardless of their health issues,” Dr Trigg said.

“It is being cared for by someone in a compassionate and supportive reciprocal relationship – even though someone may be in the late stages of dementia, they are still a person with their own individuality and personality.”

Dr Trigg has studied quality improvement in long-term care and currently supports people working in care in Wales with evidence and research to inform policy and service design. At the symposium she explained the concept of relationship-centred quality and gave delegates the opportunity to reflect upon the quality of care in their own organisation and how well it is being achieved.

Relationship centred care focuses on enhancing the care experience for residents together with family and staff, where relationships between them are built upon and nurtured. Residents feel a sense of security, feeling safe and receiving knowledgeable and sensitive care whilst staff feel safe from threat, working within a supportive culture and families are supported to feel confident in providing good care. A sense of belonging is established, residents are supported to make friends within the setting, family maintain valued relationships and staff feel like they are part of a team.

Residents have the opportunity to develop and meet goals, giving them a sense of achievement, which is shared with family and staff. A sense of continuity is built with residents receiving care from staff they know and staff have consistent work assignments. A shared sense of purpose is also achieved with the help of family in activities where residents have meaningful, purposeful functions and staff help with clear, shared goals. Importantly, residents feel valued and recognised, staff feel like their work matters and family feel valued by staff.

You can tune into the last two webinars in the webinar series:

Tuesday 1 September at 4pm Reconsidering Person-Centred Dementia Care: Can we make this an everyday experience for those living with high dependency needs and dementia? Presented by Professor Dawn Broker

Tuesday 8 September at 11 am Leadership and the Challenge of Change by Ita Buttrose AC OBE and Addressing Leadership Blind Spots to Staff Engagement by Dr James Adonis

Dementia Advocate closing by Keith Davies.

Jillian Slade is a Placement Consultant.


The Value of Intergenerational Activity in Aged Care Facilities

Student_at_Aged_Home jpg

St Kevin’s have been running programs with their students visiting aged care facilities for some years and recently I received these heart-warming photos of secondary students visiting with the residents of the Royal Freemasons Coppin Suites in Moubray, Melbourne. The residents enjoy the interaction with the students, as they often miss their own grandchildren whom they sometimes don’t see much for various reasons,such as they are living interstate or overseas. The students also gain a lot from these visits, as is illustrated by one student in particular who wrote back to the Lifestyle person at the facility, thanking her for allowing him to spend time with the residents. He particularly singled Donald Ross out in his letter, saying that Don had made the greatest impression on him. You may remember that I wrote about Don in another blog; he has limited hearing and speaking and was unfortunately the victim of financial elder abuse. As a result of a court case against the abuser he was able to sell his asset and received sufficient finances to move to this lovely facility, which I was able to assist him to find.

The student expressed that he now has a whole different perspective of living life to the fullest with a disability through Don sharing his story with him, something he said he could never have imagined before. For the students it’s not just about being helpful, it can be a powerful experience as it’s often the only interaction they might have had with an older person.

Students_at_Aged_Home_2 jpg

The students gain a valuable insight into how people lived in another generation through the stories the residents share with them. It helps to break down barriers and gives these young adults an understanding of the challenges faced in earlier times, and the challenges elderly people face now.

The social benefits of mixing elderly aged care residents with the youngest generation was the focus of an experiment funded under an initiative of the Victorian Government Department of Health Aged Care Department. An intergenerational playgroup was conducted in a residential aged care facility at Percy Baxter Lodges, North Geelong in 2009. The benefits accruing to the elderly residents, parents and children attending was evaluated as positive for all three groups. The residents became more actively involved and confident in interacting with the children over time and the children came to see walking frames, walking sticks and wheelchairs as quite normal and enjoyed being doted upon by the residents. One of the parents noted that her daughter was happy to just have someone sit quietly with her as she played, listening and talking with her patiently; the mother had not realised the value of this herself, filling her child’s day with frantic activity.  So, a great learning experience all round. Playgroups Victoria provides information on running intergenerational playgroups.