In 2020, an estimated 459,000 Australians have dementia. While many of them live at home with the support of families and carers, a large proportion of people with some form of dementia live in residential aged care homes. For all of them, professional support is vital.
SummitCare Baulkham Hills Manager of Care and Wellbeing – Jane Hammon says that dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years.
“What that means is that many of our residents require specifically developed clinical care, programs and activities that can help make a positive difference to manage their condition,” she says.
SummitCare operates 10 nursing homes, nine in Sydney and one in Wallsend, Newcastle. They are known for providing the highest level of professional and compassionate care, including low, high and dementia-specific support, focusing on individual resident’s wellbeing. Wallsend, Baulkham Hills and Penrith feature Dementia Care Units, dedicated spaces where residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia receive specialised and personalised care.
“Across all of our homes, the SummitCare team practices a range of care options that can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, memory loss and frustration,” adds Jane.
“This includes emotional support, consistency of support staff, medication management, help with personal grooming, showering and toileting, individualised activities, dedicated safe ‘wandering’ areas, quiet spaces away from groups and the TV, effective pain management to limit confusion and distress, and staff who are happy to spend time listening.
Good dementia care should also involve relatives, carers and friends as much as possible. This includes consulting and actively involving them in care planning and review. They should be treated as partners in caring, not just as someone who can help at meal times.
Family and friends should be encouraged to be involved in residents’ meetings and committees and to join any support groups.
SummitCare also offers families and carers support and respite care so they can have a well-deserved break.
Baulkham Hills Registered Nurse Simi, works with residents living with dementia every day.
“We use a range of techniques to help lessen their anxiety that we call our Sunshine Program,” she says. “They can be a little fractious at times, but we know how to calm and divert them. We also manage what they eat and when, so they can sleep better, improve their bowel and bladder function, and communicate more effectively.
“We also use the Better Visit app, by Dementia Australia, which helps via two-player games to enhance connection and facilitate positive social interaction for the resident and their visitors.”
At other SummitCare homes, Nyora the Robotic Dog helps with social isolation and companionship. Baby dolls quieten and bring out the nurturing side of residents and the Drawing Memories program at Wallsend is a sensory-based reminiscence therapy that combines images and objects to trigger memories and inspire art-making. The drawing activities involve problem-solving and decision-making and can be both cognitively stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
SummitCare has a longstanding professional relationship with the peak body, Dementia Australia, in developing homes and programs that offer real and beneficial assistance.
“We share Dementia Australia’s belief that those with dementia should be valued, supported and respected,” says SummitCare Wallsend General Manager of Care and Wellbeing – Louise Hunt . “We focus on the wellbeing of every individual so we can ensure services are delivered to promote the wellbeing for people with dementia.
“The practical help we offer through our SummitCare Homes is focused on dignity and care for all our residents and families. The support we provide is profound and you can see the difference in the quality of our care.
“Personalised, professional care, like ours, has been proven to increase the quality of life for our residents with dementia and we are very proud to be able to provide it.”
Find out more about SummitCare.