What is the title of your project in rural dementia care?AGE

Werruna the never ending environment

Where was your project conducted?

Winchelsea Victoria Australia

Provide a brief description of the area including dementia and other service availability.

A rural farming community, grazing and cropping area, community of 1500 people located 30 kilometres from a regional city. Available services are hospital, urgent care, aged care and community health with visiting district nursing and allied health.  Dementia : day centre / respite services only.

What was your project’s purpose/s?

To create a purpose designed boutique rural residential centre for persons with advanced memory loss and confusion that:

  • Uses knowledge and understanding of the health and social needs of people with dementia
  • Incorporates contemporary open plan building design reflecting a value that people with dementia are entitled to live in high quality environments.
  • To be in keeping with local family cultures and retaining community integration
  • The development of an outdoor farming space that is familiar to the resident with dementia and reduce behavioural agitation

What key opportunities did the project address?

To meet an existing service need for a dedicated dementia specific facility and eliminate the need for local people to be relocated outside their community for residential care.

Describe how the project may meet the needs and expectations of rural people with dementia and/or their carers?

  • Enables families to remain connected and continue visiting as the dementia condition of their family member deteriorates
  • To provide greater family and carer satisfaction due to high quality contemporary living environment, furnishings  and pleasant, expansive and secure outdoor spaces

What evaluation methods were utilised?

  1. Undergraduate Occupational Therapy student evaluation on The Impact of the Environment on Occupational Engagement and Agitation of People with Dementia using the Residential Environment Impact Survey (REIS) (Fischer et al 2008) and Cohen Mansfield Agitation Inventory(CMAI) (Cohen-Mansfield, 1991) comparing Werruna a person centred facility with a standard designed dementia environment.
  2. Expressions of satisfaction from family and carers

What were the outcomes, results and conclusions?

  • Results indicate that residents living in the purpose designed dementia unit, Werruna, a person centred facility, had more instances of occupational engagement, and reduced levels of agitation and other behaviours associated with advancing dementia. An environment within person centred facilities does have a positive impact on residents.
  • High levels of expressed satisfaction from family and other carers

What contribution has the project made to innovation and knowledge advancement?

  • A dementia specific environment encompassing an internal open plan design and an external outdoor space combined with meaningful activity has the potential to reduce agitation behaviours and improve the lifestyle of residents and encourage family connection.

Other comment

  • Werruna has been showcased internationally in conferences and other journals and publications and has  received high levels of acclaim that includes the shortlisting in three health care and building awards. Tours are welcome.

How can you be contacted?

  • Name: Peter Birkett
  • E-mail: pbirkett.hesse@swarh.vic.gov.au
  • Phone: + 61 3 52671200
  • Organisation: Hesse Rural Health
  • Website: www.hesseruralhealth.org.au
  • Address: 8 Gosney Street, Winchelsea, Victoria, Australia, 3241
  • Country: Australia

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