A program which focuses on personalising health care for patients with dementia has recently been implemented at Blayney Health Service.
The TOP 5 initiative recognises the value of personal information that carers can provide about those they care for, and acknowledges that carers are important partners in health care. As the population ages, an increasing number of Australians are experiencing dementia, with Australia reportedly having the 4th highest level of dementia in the world for people 60 years and over.
When people with dementia are admitted to hospital, often for a range of reasons, a new environment away from carers, family, and the safety of established routines can be very unsettling and result in feelings of anxiety and confusion. This can be can be stressful for the patient, carer and health care staff alike.
Health care staff can help ease this situation by using the knowledge that carers have of patients, especially in relation to communication and the unique behaviour of those they care for. This information may help staff identify, and be more aware of why a patient is feeling anxious and unsettled, as well as assisting in settling and making patients feel more comfortable in an environment which is unfamiliar.
The Top 5 initiative encourages carers to identify and document five things that are significant and meaningful to the person they care for – be it a nickname or preferred name, likes and dislikes, daily routines, or even a favourite item of clothing or trinket that they like to keep close. Identifying simple things can often have a significant impact on the care staff can provide, and in turn can lessen the anxiety felt by the patient and their carer. The information provided by carers is documented on a customised TOP 5 form and placed on the patient’s medical chart, which is shared by all staff involved with the patient.
Health Service Manager Ms Kathy Hillier states that TOP 5 will greatly benefit patient care and carers at Blayney Health Service.
“The process of identifying ways of settling patients in an unfamiliar environment has been done informally in the past at Blayney Health Service, however this program ensures the information is formally recognised, documented on the patient’s medical record and available to all staff involved with the patient.”
TOP 5 can also benefit patients and other health care teams if the person enters respite care or a residential aged care facility, as well as care teams who provide care to the person in their own home or in an emergency situation when the carer may be unavailable.
The TOP 5 program was developed by the Central Coast Local Health District and forms part of the Clinical Excellence Commissions ‘Partnering with Patients’ Program.
TOP 5 = T–Talk to the carer; O-Obtain the information; P-Personalise the care; 5–5 strategies developed
For further information regarding TOP 5 please contact;
Antonia Hynes – Carer Program Coordinator (02) 6378 6280
Lyndall Jones – Carer Program Coordinator (02) 6841 2470
Chris Duffy – CNC Aged Care (02) 6861 2555