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

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