First, they look after us then, we look after them

First, they look after us  then, we look after them

Our March morning coffee meeting was again held outdoors on a beautiful sunny day.  One of the aims of the Melbourne Neighbour Network is to educate and share information on issues of mutual interest, including services provided by various organisations.

Professor Marita McCabe, Research Professor and team leader, Health and Aging Research Group, Swinbourne University, shared with us her findings on an evaluation of the Resident at the Centre of Care training program. We were very interested to hear how Consumer Directed Care (CDC) was being implemented in Aged Care Homes since its introduction in 2012.

Consumer Directed Care

Consumer Directed Care requires providers to consider the individual needs and demands of residents including the right to be treated with greater dignity, autonomy and independence.  Professor McCabe described some of the difficulties associated with implementing a resident directed approach.  These include the need for strong leadership and staff empowerment to handle the change in direction to CDC, the need for job restructuring, and managing resistance to change. An important issue is the relationship between management and the working relationship between carers and care recipients.

Residents requests were categorised into four areas.

Care assistance

Residents want to remain involved in decisions such as what clothes to wear and they requested that carers go more slowly and be gentle.

Health and lifestyle preferences

Residents expressed the need for more information about options available in order to be able to make their own choices regarding activities and health services and professionals.

Meals and food

Residents talked about the importance of when they eat as well as what they eat. Very early breakfast suited the staff more than the residents, and outdoor gatherings and barbecues.

Social connectedness

The need for greater social interaction and more meaningful engagement with other people, including more frequent conversations with staff.

As Professor McCabe pointed out, most of these requests seem to be reasonable, but the way aged care is currently delivered makes these changes difficult.  Staff are often expected to be task-oriented instead of residenet-oriented.  If expected to shower 10 residents in a short period of time, the carer’s ability to create a relationship with each individual is inhibitited. The priority needs to be working with residents at a personal level, to accommodate the individual needs of each person. Management and leadership changes are needed to make this happen.

Powlett Community Centre

We are still working with City of Melbourne on the upgrade of the facilities at the community room.  Unfortunately COVID-19 has interrupted work due to CofM staff absences. We are hopeful that the temporarily derailed clean-up and repairs needed at the centre will begin shortly.

The EMNN is now working on the Health and Wellbeing timetable for Term 2 at Powlett Community Room. New ideas are sought from the community as we seek to provide additional meaningful, fun, and engaging activities for all age groups. Any resident of any age who would like to get involved – the EMNN would love to hear from you.  Your ideas and involvement will help strengthen our community and enhance the health and wellbeing of your neighbours •

Contact Susan Hen derson or Ann-Marie Eckersley: [email protected]

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