Dementia Care

Care delivered by front-line home care workers

There has been increasing focus in recent years on quality care for people with dementia living in residential care homes but very little research into effective models of home care. Yet the quality of home care influences quality of life and the ability to remain independent for many people with dementia. A new research project has just received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to enable the implementation of dementia research into clinical practice and care. This will be done through the development and trial of an evidence based education and training program for home care workers that will be broadly disseminated via Dementia Training Australia and will ensure increased quality of care.

The ‘Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with Dementia’ (NHMRC Partnership Centre for Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older people, 2016) stress the need for adequate training for care workers, and recommend specific dementia training that highlights how to communicate clearly with a person with dementia, how to encourage their independence, how to manage their symptoms of dementia, how to prevent suspected neglect or abuse, and how to apply person-centred care in practice.

This project will establish an evidence based model for dementia care that can be delivered by front-line home care workers (non-clinically trained paid personal carers). The project has 2 main stages: (1) co-designing a manualised intervention program for home care workers who provide care to people with dementia, and (2) implementing this program as part of an RCT with partner home care providers to investigate the program’s impact on both care recipient outcomes (independence and quality of life) and carer outcomes (burden of care, resilience). In addition, health economic data will evaluate the cost effectiveness of the program.

[Source: Associate Professor Briony Dow, Director of the National Ageing Research Institute and Associate Professor of Ageing at the University of Melbourne]