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Dementia care Canterbury, World Alzheimer’s Day


September 19, 2014

World Alzheimer’s Day - 21 September 2014: Dementia care Canterbury going from strength to strength

This Alzheimer’s Day, Canterbury people with dementia and their families can take comfort in the fact that better quality care is increasingly available, according to the South Island Alliance’s Health of Older People’s group (HOPSLA).

The dedicated dementia care training programme ‘Walking in Another’s Shoes (WIAS)’ continues to grow from strength to strength, with more health professionals and carer/support staff across both islands now accessing the innovative programme.

To view life from another person’s perspective, or to ‘walk in their shoes’, is at the heart of the learning programme, specially designed for carers working in dementia care. Almost half of those to complete the training in the past year were from Canterbury.

Dr Jenny Keightley, Chair of HOPSLA, says the training course is popular because it is designed with the user in mind and the high quality of the course content.

“The programme is still viewed as the ‘gold-standard’ for residential care for people with dementia,” Dr Keightley says.

“And because it focuses on what a person can do rather than what they can’t, it means that hopeful, achievable goals are identified in rehabilitation as well as pragmatic goals around support and minimising harm.”

Since 2013 the training has been rolled out across the South Island and is spreading north with two programmes now established in Hawkes Bay DHB and an educator recently employed by Mid-Central DHB.

HOPSLA plans to extend the programme over the next year by developing two new resources.

“We are planning a master class for people who have completed training, which is a support and educational group to help keep trainees current and up to date with their skills,” Dr Keightley says.

“We also hope to develop new resources which are specifically designed for managers of aged residential care facilities, to assist them in fully supporting the delivery of the programme.”

WIAS joins forces with Careerforce and Alzheimer’s NZ on new training project
During the past few months the Walking in Another’s Shoes (WIAS) trainers have been sharing their expertise in delivering person-centred care thanks to a collaboration with Alzheimer’s NZ, Careerforce and Health Workforce NZ, to support a new training programme for people delivering dementia care.

The $1.2 million project, funded by the Ministry of Health, will give priority to training workers who provide home-based dementia care. This new initiative will see around 2000 workers gaining skills in recognising, understanding and supporting people living with dementia. From this July the WIAS trainers will be providing training material and supporting the ‘train the trainer’ model for home care staff.

In the last year, HOSPLA has helped progress a number of positive developments in the way dementia care is being delivered and supported across the wider South Island, including :

• 328 health care staff have completed ‘WIAS’ training – a threefold increase
• Dedicated training coordinators have been appointed for each South Island DHB
• Trainers have teamed up with Alzheimer’s NZ, Careerforce, and Health Workforce NZ to support he delivery of people-centred dementia care training to home-based carers
• Regional services are reducing demand for dementia care beds.


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