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Salvation Army launches Australian-first dementia care model focusing on enablement and independence

The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus has launched an Australian-first, revolutionary dementia care model that is set to transform the way it cares for residents living with dementia.
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CEO Sharon Callister, Dementia Care Matters CEO Dr David Sheard and Dementia Care Matters Director of Learning Peter Priednieks

The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus was selected as one of only two aged care providers in Australia to launch the ‘Butterfly Household Care Model’. Originally pioneered in the United Kingdom by Dementia Care Matters, it embraces the unique contribution a rich life experience can bring from residents living with dementia, moving away from traditional institutional structures into a transformative model focused on enablement rather than dependence.

The model facilitates care guided by residents’ interests, feelings and emotions rather than being task focused. Daily routines will give way to a relaxed, unscheduled day allowing residents to openly express their feelings and desires and participate in activities they actually want to do. The model has shown significant international success in improving the quality of life, health and wellbeing for residents living with dementia through increases in resident satisfaction, decreased expressive behaviours and falls, improved social interactions and more meaningful engagements.

Aged Care Plus Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Callister, comments: “Our commitment to excellence continues as we implement the ‘Butterfly Household Care Model’ to build on our existing work and truly bring hope, fulfilment and meaning to residents’ lives and ultimately, a better quality of life.”

Leading the change, ‘The Butterfly Household Care Model’ is live at two Aged Care Plus centres - Mountain View Aged Care Plus Centre at Narrabundah, ACT and The Cairns Aged Care Plus Centre at Chapel Hill, QLD. All 14 of the remaining centres in NSW, ACT and QLD will soon follow.

Aged Care Plus Executive Manager – Care Services, Peter Bewert says implementing the ‘Butterfly Household Care Model’ is not just about philosophy, it’s about understanding emotions and connecting with people to create an extension of their home.

“Just because a resident has come into residential care doesn’t mean that they should stop doing the things they always have or find fulfilling. Carers will work with our residents and facilitate them to be involved in everyday life activities like cooking, cleaning and gardening. Staff won’t wear uniforms, and the timing of meals and activities won’t be prescribed.

“This approach truly breaks down barriers in aged care that prevent residents living with dementia from living as independently as possible. It builds a family-like environment and ensures that they can live meaningful lives,” says Mr Bewert.

Centre Manager at The Cairns Aged Care Plus Centre at Chapel Hill, Tania de Fonesca is looking forward to the further improved care from the ‘Butterfly Household Care Model’.

“The residents living with dementia here at The Cairns Aged Care Plus Centre at Chapel Hill will genuinely value the new model of care being implemented. When Aged Care Plus began shifting to a person-centred approach, the staff interacted differently with our residents as they had a personal relationship with them, rather than simply a clinical relationship. We are looking forward to fostering these stronger emotional connections with our residents.” says Ms Fonesca.

The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus will also be the first provider in Australia and internationally to introduce this model of care in the Community Care setting.

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