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Jul 2020

Understanding Dementia with a focus on person-centred care and good communication  

Blog posts

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

We are excited to announce the coming soon re-launch of our ‘Understanding Dementia’ suite, designed to improve understanding of dementia and the care provided to those living with it. The course is appropriate for both residential and home-based carers. Despite being familiar to most people living in Australia, dementia is often misunderstood.  

The far-reaching and emotionally painful impacts of dementia mean that providing good person-centred care and good communication to someone living with dementia is vital.  

What is Dementia? 

Dementia is an umbrella term, referring to several different symptoms and conditions. As a collection of symptoms caused by brain dysfunction, it can be a complex condition and present in different ways. Dementia Australia states that: 

“Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.  

Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.” 

It is a common belief that dementia is a normal part of the ageing process. It is not.  

However, older individuals are more susceptible to dementia, with around 3% of people aged between 65 and 74 positively diagnosed with dementia. This increases to 19% in people between 75 and 84 years, and approximately 50% of people aged 85 years and above.  

Approximately 1 in 10 individuals that will fall prey to dementia at some point in their lives.  

There are many different forms of dementia where each type has its own cause, yet there are often commonalities between symptoms. Typical symptoms of someone living with dementia include: 

  • Accelerated memory loss 
  • Confusion 
  • Mood swings and swift changes in personality  
  • Withdrawal  
  • Disinterest, boredom and apathy, and 
  • The gradual inability to carry out daily activities and tasks.  

Although there is no current prevention or cure for dementia, some medications help reduce symptoms. While some medications may help reduce or manage symptoms of dementia, there is not current prevention or cure. Person-centred care for people living with dementia is therefore critical to making sure dignity and safety is maintained.  

Why are we re-launching our Understanding Dementia course? 

Our understanding of dementia has improved. We’ve worked with both subject matter experts, those in the field and our clients to develop the training that best supports carers. We understand carers are incredibly busy, with many different responsibilities, we have refocused and condensed our existing course content to reduce seat time and maximise engagement.  

The Understanding Dementia suite covers three core modules: 

  • What is dementia? 
  • Person centred care, and  
  • Good communication.

In order to drive key learning insights and instil behavioural change, the courses use clear, simple language, avoiding academic and complex abstract terms. With a strong behavioural focus, the course aims to ensure every learner provides good person-centred care in their organisation, to the people in their care.  

The Understanding Dementia suite aligns with the revised Aged Care Quality Standards, emphasising the importance of providing patient respect and safeguarding the dignity of those suffering with Dementia. The suite is endorsed by subject matter expert Frontline Care Solutions, as well as leading Aged Care clients like Eldercare, that look to Kineo for specialist Aged Care workplace elearning. 

Person-centred care 

A person’s care experience is reflected by how their dignity and safety is maintained as an individual, while respecting their condition. A duty of care for Aged Care professionals has been defined in the Aged Care Quality Standards, with an emphasis on consumer-centred care.  

A person’s preferences, needs and goals should be the basis their care. In turn, their care should also include their family and loved ones. A person-centred approach helps make sure that someone living with dementia receives good, suitable care and builds a solid foundation for communication, trust, respect and ethical decision-making.  

Person-centred care approaches have been validated in the quality of service provided, heightened safety, as well as improvements in patient and staff relationships.  

Good communication  

Good communication practices are vital to ensure that the people receiving care and services are properly supported, informed and cared for.  

Empathy, patience and resilience are qualities nurses will need to respectfully manage patients with fluctuating changes in behaviour.  Often patients can express confusion and frustration in their situation, even to the point of fear. Good communication is critical to understand the needs of people living with dementia and support them to live their life.  

Kineo strives to deliver quality-based workplace learning at the right time.  If you manage nurses or carers in an Aged Care setting and are looking to refresh your learner's practical skills whilst ensuring compliance, we’d be delighted to assist. 

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Since the year immemorial Sally has exercised an avid passion for creativity with words, images and Pilates.  She is most content in the workplace when crafting enticing messages that inspire and engage.