Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2014 Contents RDNS is now delivering its services into retirement villages
Even though mental health issues are high among older
people and particularly those in residential aged care,
they often go undiagnosed. Challenging behaviour
arising from a resident's mental health can also make
remaining in residential care difficult.
To address this, Aged Care Plus Carpenter Court Centre
in Newcastle has developed a new person-centred, multi-
stakeholder support program addressing challenging behaviours
in people with a mental illness.
The approach, which won a 2014 Better Practice Innovation
award, has been evolving since initial implementation in 2011. It
was developed by the centre's manager, who is an experienced
mental health clinician. It has resulted in reduced hospital
admissions, increased quality of life, improved communication
and greater integration for residents, says Peter Bewert,
executive manager of care services at Aged Care Plus.
The model is based on the development of individualised
behaviour support plans with residents, their family, doctors, and
health specialists. It focuses on person-centred care and creating
a partnership between all stakeholders, Bewert says.
"This program is very much focused on connecting to people
at an emotional level and understanding the emotions of why
they are exhibiting that behaviour."
Residents can be left mentally tormented and frustrated after
dealing with the root cause of their behaviour and connecting
Indicative of a growing trend
of delivering community care
services into retirement living,
Aveo, a leading operator of
retirement living, has entered
into a partnership with RDNS, one
of Australia's major providers of
Through its brands RDNS
HomeCare and Rally HomeCare, RDNS
has been appointed by Aveo to provide
in-home support and healthcare
programs to residents in 22 of its
villages in South Australia, Tasmania
and the Gold Coast.
RDNS staff are providing a range of
services to Aveo residents including home nursing care, domestic
assistance, personal care, respite care, social support and
complex service management, says Dan Woods, executive general
manager of brand and business development at RDNS.
The RDNS' Education and Learning Centre is also providing
periodic information sessions to Aveo residents on a range of
health and ageing subjects, and having a regular presence within
the villages to meet with residents and discuss their needs.
Consultation, regular contact and feedback have been
important during the partnership's
implementation process, Wood says.
RDNS spent considerable time
getting to know the Aveo environment
and this meant meeting with those at
the coalface of village operations, as
well as residents, says Woods.
"When we first launched into South
Australia, and consequently into other
states, we made it a particular point
to meet with resident committees to
garner feedback and insights, before
launching to all residents via tailored
Woods says feedback has been very
positive. "Village managers and staff
have been terrific in helping us to understand the environment
and are working with us to integrate RDNS services into the
villages as part of Aveo's Health and Wellness Program."
Residents have also been positive, he says: "We are also
encouraged by feedback highlighting that they feel good knowing
that services are there as and when they require them."
It's still early days, says Woods, and already RDNS can see
differences in each region in which it is operating as well as
variations and unique attributes across villages within a region. n
Natasha Egan reports on
a new approach to caring for
seniors with mental health issues.
Nurse in the village
RDNS has partnered with Aveo to provide a range of nursing and
care services into its retirement villages across Australia.
Jenelle, carer, with Joyce,
Carpenter Court Aged
Care Plus Centre resident
with them on an emotional level requires a highly-individualised
person-centred approach, he says.
"When we can truly understand the emotions behind it then
we are able to really make some breakthrough about getting
some better quality of life outcomes for our individual residents
and that is what we have been able to achieve."
Residents are reporting a strong sense of belonging to the
centre and wellbeing has increased by 10 per cent, according to
the annual resident survey.
Carpenter Court has become a provider of choice in the
Hunter region for people previously labelled as unplaceable.
There has been a 21 per cent increase in admissions of people
with mental health problems over three years and a significant
decrease in the number of residents leaving due to behaviours
associated with mental health problems over the same period.
Staff are also benefiting. Bewert says they are lucky to have an
experienced mental health clinician on board and all other staff
have received specific education and are involved in the process
of developing behaviour support plans.
Aged Care Plus, which is a division of The Salvation Army, has
17 residential aged care centres in NSW, ACT and Queensland.
It is looking to roll out the model to its two other facilities that
specialise in caring for people living with mental illness, and at
adapting the model for implementation in all other centres. n
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