Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2013 Contents SPONSORED FEATURE
"We have developed significant resources in training and
development and are in the process of packaging those now to
make them available for others to use."
Much of this is coming out of the Cottage Life project,
including an emotional intelligence training module that will
soon be rolled out to all sites and services.
"The ability of an individual to connect emotionally with
another is directly related to their level of emotional intelligence,"
"We now have tools to measure emotional intelligence and
that will help in the selection of the right staff for the right roles
and be of real value in equipping staff with the skills to work in a
Feez points out that this is vital, as dementia care is a tough
job with a high burnout rate.
"It is not recognised as an emotionally demanding job as well
as physically demanding," he says.
Feez admits that during the early part of the Cottage Life
project they did not anticipate the challenges and now better
understand that these fundamental changes take time. The
initiatives from the project are now being implemented across all
of Churches of Christ Care's aged care services.
The flow of the day processes, among others, have been
gradually integrated and evolved, assisting staff to enjoy their
days and connect with residents.
"We hope to enable them to feel more valued in their role as
well as finding more fulfilment."
As the Cottage Life project winds up over
the next year, the focus will be on creating
a model of care for the future.
Role modelling and training for staff
will continue, and more intensive data will
"We are creating a culture that will
continue the ability to engage and
connect, and to understand individual
needs, hopes and desires," Feez says.
Fleming commends Churches of Christ
Care for its far-sighted approach to the
wider, long-term implementation of the
initiative across its aged care services.
"Churches of Christ Care has identified
the positive care outcomes being generated
at the centre and reviewed its practices
for its ongoing business model to meet the
needs of this rapidly ageing population and
corresponding increase in people suffering
from dementia," she says.
"It's a good example to others that if
you're really passionate about improving
care for elderly Australians, as Churches
of Christ is, sometimes you have to be
really creative and find other ways." n
Global and local recognition
THE COTTAGE LIFE model developed by Churches of Christ
Care is making an impact on the international stage.
In her capacity as professor of aged and dementia care
at Queensland University of Technology, Professor Elizabeth
Beattie has been collaborating on the project work of Churches
of Christ Care's Centre for Excellence in Dementia Care,
reviewing practices and advising on moving towards excellence.
"There is a lot going on in the dementia world right now,"
"We know a lot about what improves care for people with
dementia, and what we need to be doing is moving that into
Beattie has invited a range of international aged care experts
to tour the cottages.
"What is interesting for the group is that this is Queensland, so
these cottages are very open, and there is a lot of access to nature,
novelty and mystery in the environment," she says.
"That is sometimes quite surprising to people who might be
used to dementia care units located in high-rise buildings or locked
areas in another part of a large institution... I have seen very positive
results from the way international visitors speak about the cottages;
it's one of the places I'm very happy to take them."
The Cottage Life model has also been heavily evaluated by
Churches of Christ Care, aiming to see if resident, family and staff
outcomes are better than 'usual' care. Promising trends have been
found so far, including:
• higher quality of life in terms of having energy, engaging with
family and improving self-esteem, fun and enjoyment
• more opportunity for residents to be involved in individualised,
• higher percentage of families saying they would recommend the
facility to other families of people with dementia
• higher percentage of staff saying they would recommend working
at the facility
• 100 per cent positive feedback from GPs and visiting health
Beattie says while many aged care centres in Australia are
making improvements in dementia care, Cottage Life's point of
difference lies in the way staff are taught to engage at an emotional
level, not just a task level, with a person with dementia.
"Person-centred care has taught us a lot about this, but this
goes beyond some of the tenets of person-centredness in that it
is really talking about an awareness and activation of emotional
intelligence," she says.
"What Churches of Christ Care is trying to do at Mitchelton is
to create an environment where it is like visiting somebody in their
The project has been a baseline exercise, Beattie says, which
will continue to grow and evolve as a culture of research about the
project's findings is also developed and shared.
"Nobody is telling the organisation that there has to be a
Centre for Excellence in Dementia Care -- this has been done
because Churches of Christ Care is a compassionate, committed
organisation that wants to make a difference," she says.
"When you see people interacting in the cottages and see how
joyful it is to be there, it is the sort of place you could honestly say, 'I
would be very happy for someone I love to live here'. And if you can
say that, it's a really important step forward."
Lunch at the cottages is a casual, social affair
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 45
Links Archive AAA Jul-Aug 2013 AAA Mar-Apl 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page