The Dementia Care Support Project Worker: A model to enhance care

Jennifer Hill1, Kim Page1

1Masonic Care Tasmania

Outline of Presentation: In May 2017, a $250,000 dementia research and demonstration project was successfully launched. The Improving Dementia Care Program is an exciting collaboration between Masonic Care Tasmania, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre and the Masonic Centenary Medical Research Foundation.

This presentation will share the journey and update of a new demonstration project that looks at how to model new roles for graduates of Bachelor of Dementia Care from University of Tasmania that will support the development of dementia care practice in residential aged care.

The project is being run over two years across three Masonic Care Tasmania aged care sites, including two dementia specific units and will explore how Bachelor of Dementia Care graduate, Kim Page, is shaping a new model of dementia care in aged care practice.

By drawing on skills Kim has gained from her degree she is able to implement evidence based practice in clinical improvements, managing behaviours and utilising the skills developed upon completion of a degree.

Why presentation/ topic of interest to participants: This is an important step for the industry in determining new ways that can ultimately assist the complexities of caring for those living with dementia in aged care facilities.


Jennifer Hill trained as a Registered Nurse in Tasmania in the late 1970’s. In her formative years, she held positions in both the public and private sector. She has over 20 years experience in Aged Care in various roles from clinical practice, education and training, dementia care and management positions. She was a nominee in Rotary Pride of Workmanship Award 2001 and ANMF Aged Care Nurse of the Year 2010. She was appointed as the Director of Care Services at Masonic Homes of Northern Tasmania, in 2007 and was recently appointed as Executive Director – Clinical, Masonic Care Tasmania.

Kim Page has been working with Masonic Care Tasmania since July 2008 as an Extended Care Assistant and graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2016 with a Bachelor of Dementia Care. Kim’s great interest in dementia has seen her quickly excel and she now plays an integral role in this new research and demonstration project.

The challenge of optimising nutrition for aged care residents with dementia

Dr Emma Lea1, Dr Lyn Goldberg1, Miss Andrea Price1, Mrs Laura Tierney1, Professor Fran McInerney1

1University of Tasmania

Approximately 50% of residents in aged care are malnourished and dementia compounds this problem. This malnourishment problem has long been recognised, yet the translation of knowledge into the provision of person-centred, evidence-based nutrition care has not occurred. We present an ethnographic case study, conducted by an inter-disciplinary team, which examined care practices regarding food and fluids in one aged care home. We conducted a facility document audit, detailed observations of 7 residents with dementia, and interviews with 7 family- and 11 staff-members. We identified a range of barriers preventing evidence-based, person-centred nutrition care. For example, body mass index of residents was not monitored and prompts to encourage eating and drinking were often ineffective. Staff did not appear to have a ‘big picture’ view of the relationship between nutrition and hydration and key clinical health indicators; they viewed eating and drinking as tasks to be completed rather than social activities to be enjoyed.  However, staff were aware of the key food and fluid issues experienced by residents and some beneficial care practices, such as small group dining.

Why the presentation/topic will be of interest to conference participants:
The study identifies barriers to person-centred care and highlights the importance of ongoing education to facilitate nutritional health and quality of life for people living with dementia in the aged care setting. Education and a focus on translation of research into practice will facilitate implementation of best practice nutrition care. Findings suggest that aged care home staff need to be supported to build on their existing knowledge around effective food and fluid care practices. The numerous ideas staff expressed for changing care practices can be leveraged by facilitating staff networking, to work and learn together to implement evidence-based change. This is relevant to clinical and organisational leaders and other members of the Tasmanian aged care workforce who are striving to overcome the healthcare challenges presented by an ageing population with a high prevalence of dementia and at a high risk for being malnourished.

Dr Emma Lea is a Research Fellow in the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania. She has a PhD in public health nutrition from the University of Adelaide. Since joining the University of Tasmania, Emma has worked on health service research projects around translation of research into evidence-based practice and residential aged care workforce capacity building, including the Wicking Teaching Aged Care Facilities Program. She also teaches into the Bachelor of Dementia Care degree.

Daring and different

Ms Liz Thomas1, Ms Lucy O’flaherty1

1Glenview Community Service Inc

The content of the presentation will be in sharing the progress of the building development known as Korongee, which will be underway by this time. Participants will be interested as this provides a new offering in the Tasmanian market, and a different approach to a growing issue.Tasmania has the fastest growing population in Australia. Glenview went overseas to review best practice models of aged care and dementia friendly residential care services. Glenview has conceived the Korongee development loosely based on De Hogewey model.  Glenview intends to build 15, six bedroom houses within a secure village.

Each house will have a resident profile reflecting a ‘lifestyle’ based on research conducted through UTAS and reflecting the current Tasmanian community profile.

Each house will be staffed by a key worker and will be discreetly interconnected to facilitate ease of staff movement, as well as permitting staff to safely and securely move around the village in all weather conditions.

Housing alone will not create the complete dementia friendly environment where reminiscence therapy principles can be embedded. We will introduce a real life village with a small supermarket, cinema and café .


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