Dementia Action Week runs from 21-27 September. This year’s theme, A little support makes a lot of difference inspired us to speak to Dr Helen Courtney-Pratt, a Clinical Nurse Manager at Australia’s first dementia village.
Care with dignity
Dr Helen Courtney-Pratt’s message for Dementia Action Week is the importance of listening to people with dementia. Helen shares her insights into how residents and staff are settling into Korongee Village in Hobart, a purpose-built facility which opened in July.
In her role as Clinical Nurse Manager, Helen has been able to develop a team of staff who are focussed on ensuring residents living with dementia can live their life with dignity.
Korongee Village provides a small-scale living model of care, with residents living in houses of eight people. The Korongee model is structured to support a high level of person-centred care and to encourage flexibility and understanding of resident and family needs, which develops a level of trust that’s been key to its success to date.
“To bring staff along with the vision for person-centred care and give them opportunities to develop and flourish is really important, and I think Korongee encourages our team to reach a little bit further,” says Helen.
“Regardless of the role staff have here – in the café, on reception, or in maintenance – everyone is caring for residents as part of a team. The development of the team of lifestyle companions has been lovely, and it’s part of the model here.”
A learning curve
Research shows that it can take months for a resident to adjust to a move to residential aged care, and the past few months have been a steep learning curve for everyone, including Helen.
“Residents are adjusting to one another, to their new space, and to the team. It does require a highly skilled workforce and a team that has the confidence to sit with some uncertainty and be quite flexible.
“All the staff are working hard to ensure the residents can be the best they can be, with attention to supporting quality of life here at Korongee,” says Helen.