Our innovative Journey of Care model enables us to tailor our dementia care environments, equipment and programs to meet the unique needs of residents living with dementia. This approach has been scientifically proven to reduce agitation and exit seeking, while increasing independence, engagement and community linkages. Have peace of mind knowing your loved one is well cared for, at IRT.
IRT’s industry-leading approach to dementia care includes:
IRT is investing in enhanced environmental design for secure dementia units in IRT aged care centres. To date we’ve redesigned almost 50% of our aged care centres using Dementia Training Australia environmental design principles.
Our secure dementia care environments support resident wellbeing and independence. They also encourage community connections and engagement with loved ones.
Our secure dementia care environments enhance resident wellbeing by reducing unhelpful stimuli, increasing helpful stimuli and making it easier for staff to ensure resident safety. We achieve this by:
Concealing fences, exits and staff-only doors with colour schemes and decals
Creating internal and external spaces for residents to engage with, like walkways and faux cafes, shopping precincts, bus stops, backyard gardens and streams
Improving lines of sight to allow residents and staff to see, and be seen, more easily.
We use environmental design to improve resident independence and safety as they move throughout their home. Resident suites are differentiated with a picture box for personal mementos, and a unique door handle and decal consistent with their family home. Each ‘neighbourhood’ has a street sign or distinctive way finding prompts and colours to help residents to independently find their ‘home’. To improve safety, we use colour to contrast skirting boards, walls, handrails and floors. This helps residents maintain a safe footing and find support rails more easily.
Creating spaces that encourage residents’ engagement with each other and their family and friends is important. Dementia care environments may include an all ages park, outdoor recreation areas, dementia-friendly gardening equipment and decals that encourage a range of activities. Colourful interiors and vibrant gardens help to make our secure dementia care environments a place where the entire family feels comfortable and welcome.
University of Wollongong research on Flametree Lodge at IRT Woonona found that using these environmental design principles:
Increased helpful stimuli, resident movement and engagement, and community links
Improved visual access for staff and unobtrusive safety for residents
Decreased unhelpful stimuli.
Staff surveys before and after the environmental redesign showed significant improvements, with staff observing less falls, agitation, exit seeking and frustration from residents.
In our secure dementia care neighbourhood, residents’ lives are enhanced through best-practice design of the built environment that focuses on the needs of mobile people living with dementia. This allows for staff specialisation, tailored equipment and specialist programs that are underpinned by research. Residents feel empowered and participate in daily activities that promote independence, individuality and dignity.
Our specialist programs support resident wellbeing at each stage of the dementia care journey. By working in partnership with leading Australian researchers and health experts, we enrich residents’ quality of life, when they need it most.
There are three IRT aged care centre specialist programs:
Our Montessori approach to people living with dementia provides an environment that supports residents to achieve greater independence, higher self-esteem and a sense of wellbeing. Montessori principles support people living with dementia to continue to make contributions of value to their community, engage in meaningful activities and maintain (and even restore) function. The approach is flexible, innovative and grounded in research.
IRT has adopted Namaste as a core pillar in the support of residents with severe and end stage dementia. The approach focuses on the person, rather than the disease. Namaste incorporates sensory-based care with meaningful activities and is designed to achieve resident comfort and pleasure, by honouring the spirit within. Trained staff integrate sensory stimulation into care delivery and encourage family members and friends to participate. This enables a sense of connection at a time when communication with loved ones is limited.
Our palliative care experience promotes comfort care and a holistic understanding of wellbeing. We care for our residents’ physical needs with compassion and help to nurture their spirits. Our signature programs honour our residents, in life and in death. Every aged care centre is different, but options include:
Portable refreshment units for families visiting a loved one at end of life
Purple flower signage to signify the imminent passing of a loved one with butterfly room signage symbolising their passing
A Guard of Honour to farewell residents as they leave the aged care centre
A memorial book to celebrate the memory of the resident
A memory tree with cards of remembrance to commemorate those that have died.
The Journey of Care model is a unique approach to delivering dementia care. In most cases it won’t affect the cost of a resident’s accommodation and care.
IRT is working to enable all residents living with dementia to experience the benefits of our Journey of Care. The model is currently available at 50% of our aged care centres. Talk to our friendly customer service team to find out more.
All our dementia care environments are secure communities that are supported by dementia environmental design principles. Security measures include secure external and internal doors and windows, high fences, appropriate staff ratios and electronic communication tools, and dementia-friendly furniture, items and equipment.
All IRT employees are suitably qualified, trained and vetted for their roles. This is particularly important for those working in dementia care. We also invest in regular staff education and training through our industry-leading IRT Academy and close collaboration with Dementia Training Australia.
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