Dr Vivian Isaac, Dr Abraham Kuot, and Dr Mohammad Hamiduzzaman.

Dr Vivian Isaac, Dr Abraham Kuot, and Dr Mohammad Hamiduzzaman.

Personalised care needed for rural Aussies with dementia

Personalised care needed for rural Aussies with dementia

Health
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A Flinders University study shows rural aged care homes are under-resourced for dementia care.

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A recent study undertaken by a health research team has shown how personalised care improves the quality of the lives of people with dementia, compared to generalised care.

The Flinders University Rural Health SA research team, led by Dr Vivian Isaac, also found that in rural Australia there were limited resources, less staff training opportunities, and issues with workforce retention.

Harmony in the Bush is a nation-wide dementia research project to 'develop and evaluate a personalised model of dementia care in rural Australia' and a recent sub-study evaluated different elements of dementia-related personalised aged care.

There are more than 425,000 people living with dementia in Australia, and two in every five of those live in rural and remote areas.

The study covered more than 100 staff at five rural aged care homes in South Australia and Queensland, and the study analysis, led by Dr Mohammad Hamiduzzaman, found better personalised care was provided when staff were trained for a person-centred approach and built strong relationships with residents.

He said the study also found family members' views were not being considered by management and staff, holistic care plans were not integrated well, resources were limited, and ongoing training was missing for staff.

"Personalised care is integral to the quality of residential dementia care, but the dimensions of personalised aged care relating to dementia often remain under-managed," Dr Hamiduzzaman said.

The paper - Towards personalized care: Factors associated with the quality of life of residents with dementia in Australian rural aged care homes, by Mohammad Hamiduzzaman, Abraham Kuot, Jennene Greenhill, Edward Strivens and Vivian Isaac - has been published by PLOS One.

Dr Isaac said emphasis on staff retention, attention to individual needs, and resource stabilisation and improvement, would better equip rural aged care homes to help care for residents with dementia.

"It is evident that rural aged care homes require additional commitment from the policy makers relating to resource stabilisation and improvement," he said.

Dementia Australia chief executive officer Maree McCabe said no two people experienced dementia in the same way, hence why person-centred care was important.

"Dementia Australia has long called for mandatory training in the key aspects of dementia care including person-centred care and the fundamentals of caring for people with dementia for all health care professionals and all care staff," she said.

"Many people's experience of dementia is different, and symptoms will depend on the cause of dementia and the parts of the brain that are affected.

"People living in regional, rural and remote areas deserve to have equitable access to services and be supported to remain living in these areas throughout their experience with dementia."

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