Dementia care study at Dalmeny
Improving the lives of aged care centre residents with dementia by optimising the role of volunteers is at the heart of a study at IRT Dalmeny.
IRT Dalmeny Aged Care Centre is participating in a study to evaluate the role that volunteers play in the lives of residents living with dementia.
Run in partnership with the Southern New South Wales Local Health District (SNSWLHD), the study has adapted the highly successful Volunteer Dementia and Delirium Care Program (VDDCP) first established at Bega Hospital in 2009 and will evaluate its outcomes in residential aged care.
The study is funded by a research grant of $591,000 from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration and aims to evaluate how the VDDCP can improve the lives of aged care residents living with dementia by optimising the role of volunteers.
IRT put a call out for volunteers to participate in the study in August, and the first round of volunteers were interviewed and selected. The start date for the program was pushed back due to COVID-19 restrictions but the good news is the volunteers have now started.
Volunteers in the study are trained in dementia-specific person-centred care to improve residents’ emotional wellbeing and comfort. Before they start at IRT Dalmeny, volunteers gain a comprehensive understanding of dementia and delirium, how to understand and respond to behaviour changes that can occur, different communication techniques and a range of therapeutic activities.
Catherine Bateman from SNSWLHD says she had a really positive experience from working with the staff at IRT Dalmeny when preparing for the program, and is looking forward to the impact it will have on everyone involved, and what can be learned from the outcomes.
“Volunteers in the VDDCP will be trained to give important emotional reassurance to residents living with dementia and engage with them in meaningful activities,” says Catherine. “This is not only enormously beneficial to the resident to have this dedicated one-on-one time, but it will also give staff and family members a sense of wellbeing that someone is with their loved one.”
There are still volunteer positions available for the program. If you’re interested in volunteering or would like further information, please visit irt.org.au/careers or call the Volunteer Unit Manager on 4221 1031.