New VR dementia care program launched

Dementia Training Australia

Tuesday, 12 March, 2024

New VR dementia care program launched

A new program designed to create a network of leaders specialising in dementia care has been launched.

The Dementia Knowledge to Action free training program is the initiative of Dementia Training Australia. The innovative VR technology in the program provides participants with firsthand experiences of living with dementia, fostering empathy and enhancing their ability to improve care quality.

Its purpose is to transform dementia care leadership in Australia and create a culture of learning in care facilities. It includes practical projects such as how to redesign a living and garden space for people living with dementia and how to manage personal care training for all staff, such as best practice showering and personal hygiene.

It also teaches participants how to initiate a change project in their organisation while also dealing with behavioural management, de-escalation techniques and resilience training. The program begins with three innovative pilot courses in Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Maroochydore.

Designed for leaders and supervisors in care facilities, each pilot consists of 24 participants who will undergo intensive training over four months to enhance the necessary skills required in dementia care, practice change, leadership and changed behaviour. This includes behavioural management, resilience training and practical experiences using face-to-face workshops, online modules and immersive VR simulations.

“We are cultivating a community of leaders who will champion change and continuous improvement in their workplaces. They will be the go-to experts on staff who become mentors for best practice dementia care,” said Dr Isabelle Meyer, Executive Director of Dementia Training Australia.

“Dementia Training Australia uses VR to help participants experience what it feels like to have dementia. The goggles alter the individual’s hearing, vision and perception. They also allow participants to experience what different medications and care approaches feel like for the person living with dementia.

“It’s an immersive learning tool that empowers the individuals to drive meaningful change within their organisations and leads to improved quality of care for people living with dementia.

“Our goal is to empower participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to drive positive change within their organisations, ultimately improving the lives of individuals with dementia,” Meyer said.

With a target of training 100 Dementia Guides by June 2025, the Dementia Knowledge to Action program aims to significantly enhance the knowledge and expertise of dementia care professionals, ultimately improving outcomes for individuals living with dementia and their families. It is a national program and graduates receive a certificate of completion.

Image credit: iStock.com/shironosov

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