Doctor David Panter, ECH Chief Executive Officer says the centre was designed and built in collaboration with a highly experienced dementia expert.
“The facility includes visual cues throughout to assist with everyday tasks such as dressing, personal care, meals and making tea and coffee,” he says. “Personal alarms and movement sensors have also been installed, while an easy to navigate floor plan reduces confusion and aids movement.”
The six ensuite bedrooms in the centre are painted in different colours, and pin boards allow for the addition of personal items and photos. Other features include wardrobes with retractable doors so clothes are always visible, large light switches and permanent dim lighting in the bathroom to help with night time visits.
The centre also has carefully selected colour schemes and patterns on furniture and furnishing.
In 2009, Alzheimer’s Australia released a report: Living with Dementia ‘It’s more than just a short break’, which recommended the Australian Government give priority to dementia respite services in funding of all new respite services over a five year period to address unmet need. ECH also conducted its own research prior to building the facility.
Dr Panter highlights this research shows there is a lack of respite facilities available in South Australia to help with day-to-day demands. This, he feels, may potentially put full-time carers at risk of physical and mental exhaustion.
“Our carefully designed facility is at the cutting edge of dementia and respite care and will address this rising need for more respite options,” he adds.
The facility is located within ECH’s Henley Beach Wellness Centre. ECH Dementia Project Manager Debra Temple says: “We are able to integrate the accommodation with our award-winning day program, which includes activities including arts and craft, cooking, picnics and day-trips, gardening and music.”