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Catholic Healthcare tailors Home Care services for people with dementia

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September is Dementia Awareness Month where we recognise the 447, 115 Australians living with dementia and the almost 1.5 million Australians involved in their care*.

At Catholic Healthcare, our care workers are trained to support people with a dementia diagnosis and identify early signs of cognitive decline in those who have not been diagnosed.

“All services can be tailored to meet the needs of people with dementia,” says Elaine Goddard, Quality Manager, Home and Community Services.

Home Care Packages can include medication safety checks, more frequent visits and volunteer check-ins.

“During home visits, we can help ensure our clients are taking their medication correctly. Just prompting a client with dementia to take their medication, to have a shower or to eat a meal can make a big difference,” says Ms Goddard.

“Having support while they’re living in their own home means they may be able to stay at home longer.

“It is reassuring to children who might be living interstate that we can visit their parents every day and just make sure everything is okay,” Ms Goddard adds.

Those without a dementia diagnosis are also routinely monitored, and doctors and family members can be alerted if there are symptoms of decline.

“We assess each person at the beginning of their journey with us so we can measure any changes,” Ms Goddard says.

Even Catholic Healthcare’s community activity programs such as sing-a-longs, walks and word games are geared for independent-living clients with early dementia.

“The staff are trained to take care of them, and the activities and companionship help people feel connected with the community. Carers also use the time to take a well-deserved break,” Ms Goddard says.

“Our team can also work with Dementia Australia to set up visual prompting for clients. This might involve a night light and a system of arrows pointing to the bathroom as well as appropriate labels and reminders around the home.”

The care team also monitors the client’s progress and indicates if they believe there is a safety risk. For instance, if they’re wandering a lot.

“It’s important for doctors, social workers and families to know we exist and that there are services out there like ours that can support a person to remain safely in their home a lot longer.”

For more information on Catholic Healthcare’s Home Care Services call 1800 225 474 or visit the website www.catholichealthcare.com.au/in-homecommunity/

For more information on Dementia Awareness Month visit www.dementia.org.au.

* Dementia Australia website 2019