The Dementia Experience: Immersive Simulated Learning

Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1, Ms Jodi Ullrich1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


All rural health professionals work with clients with dementia at some time, and it is one of the key areas where interprofessional practice is critical for client-centred care. While as Allied Health professionals we can bring our expertise to the interprofessional team, how much do we really understand about the dementia experience of our clients?
At the WA Centre for Rural Health, our simulation educators have devised authentic rural interprofessional experiences through a simulation education program suitable for all health and care staff in hospital, community and residential care facilities. Scenarios are developed to match the work backgrounds of the participants and include experiencing some of the sensory and environmental impacts of dementia in the simulations. Types of scenarios include using the GERontologic Test (GERT) suit and MaskEd high fidelity simulation. Debrief after the simulations has confirmed that these experiences have a significant impact on the participants’ understanding and practice. Further workshops will be offered throughout 2018 and 2019 with planned evaluation on the impact on long term practice.
The workshop will not include any background or theory on dementia however the outcomes for conference delegates who attend this workshop are;
1. experience sensory and environmental impacts of dementia
2. self reflection about how to modify their own practice as a result of immersion experiences
3. develop ideas about using simulation principles in their own workplace to increase understanding of dementia
We will present an overview of our simulation approaches, and facilitate modified scenarios for participation.


Kathryn Fitzgerald has worked in rural and remote areas as an Allied Health professional in clinical practice, in policy and program development and in health professions’ education for over 30 years, and has been involved with SARRAH since the organisation’s early days. She currently works as the Clinical Education Manager for the WA Centre for Rural Health based in the Midwest of Western Australia.
Jodi Ullrich has in worked rural and remote areas as a Registered Nurse for 15 years. She has passion for working with children and providing health professional education mainly in the area of simulation based training programs. She currently works as the Simulation Educator for the WA Centre for Rural health based in the Midwest region of Western Australia

PALS Intercultural Support

Ms Naomi Havens1

1Anglicare NT, Winnellie, Australia


The Play And Learn Support (PALS) Program uses bicultural communication resources developed with East Arnhem Land Yolngu workers and families since 2007 for facilitated discussions about life goals, brain development, children’s needs and responsive parenting. The resources and approaches used represent metaphors embedded in Yolngu people’s identity and life experiences. Service providers and families  communicating their experiences and values facilitated by metaphors, gives program participants increasing opportunities to develop a shared understanding of each other’s roles and priorities. PALS resources and approaches have been shown to open discussion and give participants insight in areas of children’s play needs, nutrition, processing trauma experiences, understanding emotional expression and communication (e.g. withdrawal and aggressive behaviours), understanding parenting influences, and addictive behaviours (e.g. gambling, alcohol and substance misuse). PALS resources and approaches have also proven effective in negotiating and expressing values between mainstream cultures and Yolngu cultures, seen as Yolngu families communicating their needs and experiences more meaningfully to service workers and service workers clarifying and increasing access of their service to Yolngu families.


Naomi Havens is an Occupational Therapist working with the Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land with intercultural concepts. Her current work approaches have been shaped by post graduate work in Darwin as a paediatric Occupational Therapist, then living and working for 5 years at Galiwin’ku community in local Yolngu languages with adult education principles in health education. Naomi also concurrently worked in her PALS role with Yolngu families and StandBy, a response service for people bereaved by suicide. In 2015 Naomi added a Graduate Certificate of Play Therapy.

Where Am I, What’s My Login? Building a survival toolkit in changing space and time.

Mr Lenny Aronsten1

1Rural Locum Assistance Program, Canberra, Australia


Presenting my experience as a locum physiotherapist for Rural Locum Assistance Program over the last six years I hope will provide a discussion springboard for participants to make practical contributions in building a survival toolkit for locum health professionals.

The brief of Rural LAP is ‘a component of the Australian Government’s rural workforce capacity agenda and aims to provide targeted rural support services to general practitioners, specialists, nurses and allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia’. But rather than wax lyrical about adventures in far away lands (or country towns), my preference is to highlight something of the challenges that have changed my life as I’ve changed landscapes. Locum stints are by definition short posts where you need to hit the ground running. One can often feel like a roadie bumping in and out of a gig, living out of a suitcase. However, there are great benefits to be had with the choice to be a locum physio – a journey of discovery across an array of work and geography. The challenges from these years as a roving locum are encapsulated in my title ‘Where Am I, What’s My Login?’. This is actually a question I’ve not infrequently asked myself, an example of losing one’s frame of reference, an occupational hazard of being on the road. I have in my own way gathered a few survival tools to maintain some sense of community and belonging, and I would enjoy the opportunity to workshop these strategies here at this conference


Lenny Aronsten has twenty-three years experience as a physiotherapist across a broad range of applications and environments around Australia including hospital, private practice, defence force, industrial, and remote area service delivery. Following a good decade in remote and indigenous practice, Lenny decided on a sea change, which lead to joining Rural Locum Assistance Program in 2012. The last six years as a physio with Rural LAP has been a great journey of practice in rural towns across the country. Time off between locum stints has allowed the presenter to combine travel to Europe and a slight obsession with physical sciences, music and photography, in chasing the crossroads of art and science.

Stay Strong – Using Technology to Increase Access to Wellbeing Support for Indigenous Australians

Christabel Lewis1, Josie Povey1, Kylie Dingwall1

1Menzies School Of Health Research, , Australia


For Indigenous Australians, cross-cultural and geographical remoteness may contribute to poorer utilisation of mental health services. Digital mental health services can provide an efficient and cost-effective opportunity to reach populations with poor service access. The AIMhi Stay Strong App is a therapist supported tablet-based application (App) designed specifically for Indigenous Australians. It utilises Motivational Care Planning therapy to facilitate a cross-cultural, strengths-based approach to wellbeing, which identifies a person’s family, strengths and worries, and person-centred goals for change. The App is designed for healthcare practitioners to use with Indigenous clients to address mental health and wellbeing concerns in a range of healthcare settings. The AIMhi approach remains one of the only rigorously tested psychological therapies specifically designed for Indigenous Australians.

Workshop participants will be introduced to the small but growing collection of digital mental health resources available to support the needs of Indigenous people and how to assess the suitability of these in practice. Participants will learn about the AIMhi Stay Strong approach and build practical skills using the Stay Strong App using the tablet devices available. Opportunities for and barriers to implementing the App in practice will also be discussed.

Both facilitators are based at Menzies school of health research and work within the Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases Division. The AIMhi program of research began in 2003 and has resulted in a wide array of resources, ongoing collaboration with a variety of stakeholders and over 1000 health professionals trained in using the AIMhi approach.


Josie Povey is an occupational therapist who has worked as a remote mental health practitioner for 5 years, travelling to remote communities in the NT to deliver mental health services. More recently she has worked within the AIMhi team at Menzies School of health research. Her current role is as a trainer and project manager for a variety of projects focusing on the development and implementation of digital health resources for Indigenous Australians.

Christabel Lewis is also Occupational Therapist who has worked as a mental health practitioner for two years. She currently works across two roles in Darwin; one as a Clinician in the headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program and one as a Project Coordinator in the AIMhi team at Menzies school of health research. Her interests lie in public health and early intervention frameworks that aim to build a more connected and resilient society.

Innovative approaches to building Pain Management Service capacity in rural and remote locations

Ms Pam Garton1, Ms Rachel Kovacevic2

1Abilita Services Pty Ltd, Darwin, Australia, 2Innovative Rehab, Preston, Australia


Effective pain self-management requires a biopsychosocial approach and is best achieved through interprofessional collaboration. Persistent pain impacts many patients with a variety of conditions. When health practitioners use consistent patient assessment measures, shared case formulation, and targeted self-care education and strategies, delivered via a local, collaborative service model, great health outcomes are achieved!

People in persistent pain often present with a range of psychosocial barriers. Learning to recognise and manage the established risk factors for long-term disability is key to obtaining sustainable progress toward recovery. The first part of this workshop reviews practical tools to guide case formulation, identify pain responses and assist patients to develop self-management skills, aimed at building confidence and increasing function.

The idea of working interprofessionally sounds simple, but is actually quite complex in practice. Successful, inter-professional, allied health service models do exist and share a number of features in common. The second part of this workshop reviews a process for the design and implementation of innovative treatment programs in rural and remote areas, aligned with current literature and informed by practice, including the reality of adapting to local learning and service delivery needs.

The workshop will include group discussion on key aspects of psychosocial risk factors and of interprofessional collaboration. Participants will use case study scenarios to draw out psychosocial risk factors, discuss their potential impact on recovery and plan interprofessional intervention that can realistically be achieved within their own service delivery context.


Pam Garton is an Occupational Therapist passionate about breaking through the barriers that prevent people in pain, from receiving best practice treatment. Pam believes that this can be delivered by practitioners in a remote location just as effectively as city-based multi-disciplinary pain programs.

That’s a bold statement, but she has committed the past 20 years to putting it into practice and developing tools to support others to do the same.  These include a biopsychosocial self-report assessment and a coaching skills program and online training courses to utilize these resources.  Central to the success of the Abilita program is the focus on building client insight, motivation and engagement.  More recently these materials have been converted into an online self-help program for pain sufferers through the ‘Control My Pain Project’.

Pam has seen these resources fully optimised, when practitioners are supported to develop an interprofessional model adapted to local needs.

Pam is currently completing a PhD to evaluate best practice biopsychosocial rehabilitation.

Rachel Kovacevic has acquired considerable skill in service development and leadership through a range of senior roles in health, education and community settings. This has included co-ordination of a multidisciplinary Pain Service at a private rehabilitation hospital.

She is currently involved in establishing a pain service in the primary health sector in the Northern Territory.

Rachel is an advocate for service delivery models that balance financial sustainability with principles of equity and accessibility.   She often draws on the Abilita materials to complement workshop training and empower local teams to implement the principles of pain self-management in standardised, practical way.

Rachel balances work at Innovative Rehab with her role as Clinical Director at a community-based mental health practice; She is an endorsed Clinical Psychologist, accredited Rehabilitation Provider and an AHPRA-accredited Supervisor.

Mental Health Response Box – A toolbox for all organisations

Miss Deborah Reveley1

1Brain Ambulance Pty Ltd, Mandurah, Australia


Imagine if there was a toolkit that anyone could access (including those with low literacy) which would provide simple information and instructions for mental health problems. If you ever searched the internet in the past for such a physical resource, you would have found nothing.  Now there is such a toolbox.

I wish to present the Mental Health Response Box which I have written and produced for all workplaces as a toolbox for mental health issues.  This evidenced informed resource can stand alone( needs no prior training) and delivers  simple instructions and concepts in individual folders on the complex scenarios or

– Signals (signs that there might be a problem)

– Wanting to help yourself

– Helping others – being invited to help or wanting to offer to help

– Crisis (including information for suicidal thought)

– Next steps (moving on from being unwell)

The toolbox has tear off sheets to take information away and a space for Employee  Assistance Program  information if you have one.

This toolkit needs to  be introduced to your staff like it was a new piece of life saving equipment.  We may never know exactly how many frightened, worried, curious, sad, anxious or desperate eyes view the pages of how many mates have been helped.  We might not know how many boss’s have felt more comfortable having a tricky conversation or how many lives it has saved or helped.  We will only know that just like a first aid kit, it was there when needed.


Deb Reveley is the CEO of Brain Ambulance, which she started 14 years ago to deliver mental health education from the perspective of the lived experience.  an ex-teacher, she has lived with mental health problems for 25+ years spending substantial time housebound with agoraphobia.  Deb was the inaugural recipient of the Mental Health First Aid Master Instructor Award.    She uses her life experience to deliver knowledge, skills and understanding of mental health to all types of workforce.  She describes herself as an empathy educator.

Deb is a huge advocate for the recovery model.  When she was unwell, she always wanted to meet someone who had sustained recovery and had made a success of their life through their experience.  She couldn’t find anyone so decided to become the person herself.  She has an excellent capacity to be able to help others understand the complexities and issues of mental illness.  Her insight allows for authentic presentation and discussion with broad audiences.

She now works mainly as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter.

Deb searched for many years to find a physical toolbox on mental health which could be left in a workplace to stand alone without training.  Again she couldn’t find what she was looking for so in 2016, she wrote, designed and produced the Mental Health Response Box.  Now in hundreds of workplaces, this resource allows people to help themselves, help others and cope in a crisis.  Deb now spends time following her dream to see one of these Mental Health Response Boxes in every workplace in Australia right next to the defib machine or the first aid box.

As a  great problem solver and innovative thinker, Deb is often described as a human toolbox.  She hopes to visit your workplace with her real toolbox – the Mental Health Response Box.

Delegating to Allied Health Assistants – how can education of our health professionals impact outcomes in delegation models of care

Mrs Melody Shepherd1

1Allied Health Education Team, Cunningham Centre Queensland Health, Toowoomba, Australia


Melody is an Allied Health Team Leader with the Allied Health Education Team at the Cunningham Centre, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. She has worked as an occupational therapist in regional and rural areas in Queensland, interstate and overseas since 2000.

In recent years Melody has focused on the training and development of the allied health workforce across Queensland through development of training products and workforce redesign projects. Melody has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and is a Calderdale Framework facilitator. She is an active member of the Occupational Therapy profession as a member of the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s Competency Standards Reference Group and Occupational Therapy Australia’s National Professional Practice and Standards Committee.

One of Melody’s key projects has been the development of the first nationally accredited delegation training package available to allied health professionals. The accrediting authority for this training, Delegation in healthcare is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).


Melody is an Allied Health Team Leader with the Allied Health Education Team at the Cunningham Centre, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. She has worked as an occupational therapist in regional and rural areas in Queensland, interstate and overseas since 2000.

In recent years Melody has focused on the training and development of the allied health workforce across Queensland through development of training products and workforce redesign projects. Melody has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and is a Calderdale Framework facilitator. She is an active member of the Occupational Therapy profession as a member of the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s Competency Standards Reference Group and Occupational Therapy Australia’s National Professional Practice and Standards Committee.

One of Melody’s key projects has been the development of the first nationally accredited delegation training package available to allied health professionals. The accrediting authority for this training, Delegation in healthcare is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

The Irenic Lawyer

Mr Joe Harman1

1Federal Circuit Court Of Australia, Parramatta, Australia

In his notes for a law lecture in 1850 Abraham Lincoln opined “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbours to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man”.

The message intended by Lincoln would appear lost in the present age when Court lists are clogged, governments struggle with funding to address the volume of work before Courts and litigious culture dominates.

This paper will explore the role of the lawyer as “peacemaker” particularly in the family law jurisdiction where the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration.  It will be argued that the duties of the lawyer to the Court, the rule of law and the administration of justice suggest if not compel an irenic rather than polemic approach towards disputes guiding everything from interactions with clients to the modalities of dispute resolution employed and the conduct of litigation.

Drawing upon jurisprudence and research regarding client attitudes to lawyers, the dynamics of conflict and conflict resolution and professional standards and duties this paper will argue that non-litigious and non-adversarial practice are not only viable and attractive means of legal practice but are required if not compelled if the interests of client, the community and ultimately justice are to be met.  In doing so this paper will explore how polemicism and adversarial practice are the antithesis of justice and how a culture of irenic practice would better meet the needs of the disadvantaged and vulnerable.


Judge Harman was appointed to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in June 2010. Prior to joining the Court Judge Harman worked in private practice as a lawyer worked extensively as a mediator/FDRP in private and community (FRC) practice. Judge Harman has also lectured at the University of Western Sydney in family law and mediation.  Judge Harman received a NSW Premier’s Stop Domestic Violence award in 2005, was a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission Law Award in 2013 and the Law Foundation Justice Medal in 2015 and in 2015 received a Resolution Institute award for promotion of excellence in dispute resolution.


Offenders: A framework for managing risk and meeting needs

Dr Astrid Birgden1

1Consultant Forensic Psychologist, Just Forensic, Melbourne, Australia, 2Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Melbourne, Australia

Offenders have human rights. Therefore offenders are both rights-violators and rights-holders requiring legal actors as duty-bearers to balance managing offender risk with meeting offender need. From a therapeutic jurisprudence perspective, offender rights can be met through the law, correctional procedures, and the role of correctional staff as legal actors. In terms of the law, human rights are prescribed in various UN instruments but prisoners are rarely mentioned and both US and Australian courts have had a “hands-off” approach to prison administration. In terms of procedures, correctional staff are to adhere to the (outmoded) Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia 2004 but the stated goals are to be strived for rather than enforced.  In terms of roles, the message regarding the community-offender balance is subsequently confusing for correctional staff.

Dr Birgden will propose a framework that balances offender risks and needs using examples in policy development and service delivery in the correctional and forensic disability systems. The framework proposes a model that addresses both habilitation (in meeting needs) and rehabilitation (in managing risk). The framework proposes a set of guiding principles and practical strategies for assessing, treating, and managing offenders to enhance community reintegration.


For 30 years Astrid has developed policy and managed service delivery to clients in problem solving courts (family violence court and drug court), disability services (forensic disability clients) and correctional services (sex offenders and drug-related offenders). Astrid established and managed the interagency Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Centre in Sydney, which is based on a humanistic model.  She has delivered training through the AIJA and AAT NJC regarding engaging defendant behaviour change from the bench. On an international basis, Astrid was involved in a torture prevention project with police and military in Sri Lanka and Nepal, delivered training regarding offender rehabilitation to prison officers and counsellors in St Kitts/Nevis in the Caribbean, designed a Community-Police Mediation Program in New Orleans, and was a moderator for a National Institute of Canada online course for judges regarding problem solving courts. Since 2000, Astrid’s work has been guided by the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence; in 2000 she studied with Professor David Wexler at the University of Puerto Rico and more recently has completed a Masters in Advanced Mental Disability Law through New York Law School. She is published in therapeutic jurisprudence, offender rehabilitation, and human rights.

Increasing Capacity to Cope : A Toolkit for lawyers of clients with a disability or experience of trauma.

Mr Daniel Toohey1

1University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia

This practical workshop will demonstrate some tools lawyers can use to provide better support for clients who are struggling to engage with legal processes due to a disability or experience of trauma.  It is expected these tools will help lawyers take a more therapeutic jurisprudence informed approach that cares about the psycho-social effects of legal processes and seeks to improve the wellbeing of clients.

Susan Daicoff refers to calls for lawyers to move from the ‘zealous advocate’ to ‘wise counsellor’: focussing more on telling the client the legal ‘truth’ they need to hear instead of aggressively carrying out the client’s wishes.  The aim is to have a better informed client who is empowered to make wise decisions with an understanding of wellbeing that recognises legal issues are only one part of the puzzle.

Lawyers of clients with disability or experience of trauma can need additional skills to improve the capacity of the client to cope with conflict and empower the client to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances.

This workshop demonstrates some tools lawyers can use to help clients who are struggling to cope with conflict, borrowing heavily from tools used successfully in the human services sector.  The workshop will:

  • Highlight aspects of legal processes that are commonly problematic for clients with disability or experience of trauma.
  • Describe a number of practices used within the human services sector to improve communication and wellbeing of clients with disability or experience of trauma.
  • Demonstrate through role-play some ways in which these tools can be used in legal practice.


Daniel’s legal and counselling qualifications, and interest in resolving strata and community disputes let him to research towards preventative dispute resolution, and ultimately to work in community development with a focus on connecting people with a disability or experience of trauma into their local communities.  Having worked in tribunals in both Queensland and New South Wales, Daniel is now working as a legal practitioner and clinical teacher in the University of Newcastle’s free legal clinic.


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