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We’re the leaders in person-centred dementia care.

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:

 

Environmental design

 

Neighbourhoods

 

Specialist programs

Environmental design

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.

Green garden for dementia patients at IRT Woonona

Resident wellbeing

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.

Independent wayfinding

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.

Community connections

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.

Research-based design

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.

Find out more about the environmental design of your local IRT dementia care unit

Neighbourhoods

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.

Decals provide recognisable locations for residents of the IRT Woonona dementia wing
Namaste - Program Image

Specialty Programs

Our specialist programs support resident wellbeing in each neighbourhood, and at each stage of the care journey. By working in partnership with leading Australian researchers and health experts, we enrich residents’ quality of life, when they need it most. The IRT aged care centre specialist programs are:

 

Montessori

 

Namaste

Montessori

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 valuable contributions
to their community and engage in meaningful activities. Montessori also encourages family members and friends to participate in the activities so they can feel a sense of connection to their loved one living with dementia.

With a primary focus on engagement, trained employees use the 12 Principles of Montessori to work with residents and their families to tailor Montessori activities and resident roles based on sensory, motor, social and cognitive skills.

  • Montessori activities and resident roles
    Montessori activities generally include something the resident can hold, visual cues they can follow and activities based on demonstration. This may include matching and sorting and hand-eye coordination activities, such as setting the table, folding washing, sorting pegs by colour and opening and closing padlocks. Montessori resident roles may include updating the orientation board daily, watering plants or sweeping leaves.
    Montessori activities and resident roles enable residents living with dementia to develop connections and a sense of purpose and value in their community.


Namaste 

Namaste, a Hindu term for honouring the spirit within, incorporates sensory-based care with meaningful activities to achieve comfort and quality of life. IRT has adopted its Namaste program as a core pillar in supporting residents who can no longer participate in traditional activities or are facing end-stage dementia.

Trained staff integrate sensory stimulation into care delivery using therapeutic touch, aromatherapy, music and sensory experiences. Activities are tailored for each resident and generally include special momentos from their life. Family and friends are encouraged to participate, as Namaste often enables a sense of connection at a time when communication with loved ones is limited.

Founded on the power of loving touch, some of the benefits of our Namaste program include; a relaxed and fulfilling environment, reduced need for medication, decreased pain, fewer incidents of aggression, increased social interaction, a holistic approach that includes physical and emotional health and a positive impact on quality of life. Core services include:

  • Sensory stimulation
    IRT’s Namaste care experience incorporates stimulation of the five senses (touch, hearing, sight, smell, taste). Music, colour, therapeutic touch and massage, aromatherapy oils and food treats are all part of the multi-sensory environment created in Namaste.
  • Meaningful activity
    Activities are tailored for each resident to create opportunities for loving touch and human connection. Hands and face may be gently washed with a warm flannel, patted dry with a soft towel and moisturising cream applied. Staff use opportunities like this to make eye contact with residents and speak to them with warmth and kindness.
  • Life story and family participation
    Family and friends are invited to join in the Namaste care experience and share stories from their loved one’s past. We often create a personalised box of special mementos to incorporate into the care experience. Residents are encouraged to hold these items and may be immersed in familiar sounds and smells to promote comfort and wellbeing.
  • Group sessions
    Namaste session are delivered by specially-trained staff in small groups or one-on-one in a calm space away from distractions and daily activities. Small groups are run in dedicated Namaste rooms featuring soft lighting and engaging design elements supported by music, aromatherapy and
    temperature control.
  • Pain management, warmth and hydration
    Specially-trained staff ensure that residents are comfortable and well hydrated throughout the session. Blankets and socks keep residents warm and cosy in between activities, like foot massages. This helps residents to relax into the sensory-care experience.

Palliative Care

Our palliative care experience promotes comfort, care and a holistic understanding of wellbeing. Residents are treated with dignity and respect as they approach end of life. We support our residents and their families through this time, and offer a range of signature recognition programs where residents are honoured in life, and
in passing. 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.

Expert dementia care that’s personalised and compassionate

Frequently asked questions

Does IRT’s Journey of Care dementia care model cost more than regular dementia care?

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.

Is the Journey of Care dementia care model available at every IRT aged care centre?

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.

Are IRT’s dementia care environments secure?

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.

Are staff specially trained in dementia care?

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.

Find out if your loved one living with dementia is suited to our Journey of Care

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