The model, which originated from an American study, is being called the ‘latest thinking in residential care’ and focuses on a person centred approach, giving residents more choice and flexibility when it comes to the way they live.
Uniting has picked up the model and has been working since 2015 to progressively transition six of their sites across New South Wales to the household model throughout 2017, with their Lindsay Gardens Hamilton location the most recent to transition.
The successful transition of Lindsay Gardens means Uniting has now completed the roll out in five of the six pilot sites with plans to continue to transition more homes in the future.
Through the household model, residents live as part of a vibrant and active household with the 18-20 residents sharing their own kitchen, dining room, living room and small cosy spaces that Service Manager of Lindsay Gardens Hamilton Tina Clift says you would find in any home.
She adds that through the household model, the resident and those they live with decide the daily rhythm and fabric of life.
“Before this, Lindsay Gardens ran a more traditional model with set bedtimes and mealtimes - there was little flexibility for residents on when they did certain things,” she says.
“The roll out is a permanent change and in implementing it, we have reviewed our entire roster and the levels of care needed to reflect this.”
“The key differences are that there are now relaxed waking and retiring times - residents are more in control of their own routines.
“We also have snacks available 24/7, so if residents do not want to have a meal at a set time, they can help themselves to food at other times.”
The facilities that have already adopted the new model have also removed any pre-planned lifestyle programs.
“Residents can decide what they want to do and staff will help organise this for them,” Ms Clift says.
“Staff members also have more time for one-to-one time with residents to reflect this – we also have more informal group sessions to build and maintain bonds.
“For our staff, spending more time with the residents reminds them that this caring attitude is the reason they started working here in the first place.”
As far as benefits for residents, Ms Clift says those at Lindsay Gardens seem to be enjoying having a more ‘at home’ feel and regaining independence over their lifestyle choices.
“They enjoy deciding when to have breakfast and when to turn in at the end of the day,” she says.
“We’ve certainly had a more positive change in their behaviours.
“The staff at Lindsay Gardens have also been very receptive to the changes and are already saying how positive it has been.”
With changes to the aged care industry, and in society more broadly, Uniting expect to see this approach being more widespread as people’s expectations change.
The provider aims to implement the model in 50 percent of its homes by June 2018.