Jul 16
Health District Pilots New Initiative In Dementia Care

A pilot program by Western NSW Local Health District’s (LHD) Aged Care Services aims to assist patients and carers of people with dementia.

The “Top 5” initiative was developed by Central Coast LHD and has been piloted by the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) at Dubbo and Orange Health Services in conjunction with Western NSW LHD’s Dementia Network.

Manager of Aged Care Services Debra Tooley said Top 5 is about effective communication with carers and those living with dementia to assist staff to provide tailored care.

“With an ageing population there is an increased level of dementia and other age-related diseases which inevitably increases pressure on the health care system, meaning our work to improve our care of the older person and partnering with carers is essential,” she said.

“Patients, families and carers are increasingly being recognised as important members of the health care team and we need to empower them by looking at new approaches to improving the care of older people”.

The Top 5 approach recognises that carers often have valuable information about those they care for that could aid health care professionals, and improve the outcomes of care for people living with Dementia.

“The primary carers’ knowledge of the patient, especially in relation to communication and behaviour, can be the key to assist staff when managing the care of the patient, understanding their needs and providing reassurance in an unfamiliar environment,” Ms Tooley said.

“The program can also benefit patients and other care teams when the person enters a residential aged care facility or respite care, as well as those care teams who provide care to the person in their own home or in an emergency situation when the carer becomes unavailable”.

The Top 5 program encourages health professionals to:

T- Talk to Carer; O- Obtain the information; P- Personalise the care; 5 - 5 strategies developed.

Expected benefits from the program include improved carer experience, staff satisfaction, and importantly, improved care for the person living with dementia.

The LHD Carer Support Program, in partnership with the Dementia Network, has developed an implementation plan to facilitate and sustain this initiative through the Health District during
2014-16.

“The CEC identified the benefits to patients from the Top 5 program following the pilot programs in our Health District and lessons learnt will be used to improve the implementation of the program as it is rolled out across the Health District,” Ms Tooley said.

Media Contact: Vanessa Delaney 0417 511 738