All of the people we care for have a primary diagnosis of dementia with behavioural and psychological symptoms that are not able to be managed in a mainstream Residential Aged Care Facility, and determining their wishes is a common challenge. As residents are admitted to our facility and this becomes their new home, it is common for them to experience an increase in distressing symptoms. The information needed by staff includes situations that may cause them distress, the behaviours they exhibit when distressed, and the strategies that will ease their distress and keep the resident and staff safe.
We designed a document titled "This is me..." to capture this vital information. The information is gathered from families, former facilities, observation and, where possible, the resident themselves. This information is written on one page in easy English, without medical terms or acronyms so that all categories of staff can read and understand. It is written in the first person, as though the person is telling staff first-hand what their experience is. This builds a person-centred approach and provides a valuable insight into the person.
Cathy Wynn is the Nurse Manager for Staff Education and Clinical Practice at Garrawarra Centre, a residential aged care facility owned by NSW Health and part of South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. She has a strong interest in Education and Dementia care. She enjoys positively influencing staff to provide exceptional person-centred care and is proud of her team of Educators, as well as the clinical staff who provide care.