Victorian aged care provider - Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) - has spent the past 12 months introducing the Montessori practice to 12 of its facilities, with the aim of improving the lives of the people living there.
Traditionally associated with early childhood education, VMCH say in aged care it aims to support individuals in a practical, respectful and enriching way, where individuals are “encouraged to be as independent as possible, to have a meaningful place in their aged care community, make choices and useful contributions in their home”.
VMCH Residential and Retirement Services Manager Voula Yankoulas says the November visit by the team from Singapore provider Saint Theresa’s Home is the second this year.
She explains that most VMCH staff have received training in the Montessori practice and the facilities have specifically designed signs and staff name badges.
“They first contacted VMCH earlier this year expressing an interest in learning more about [our] care model and were especially interested in the Montessori practice for aged care,” she says.
“Staff at our aged care residences use the montessori principles every day when supporting residents.
“One great way to get an appreciation for how it is working is by seeing it put into action by our staff.
Ms Yankoulas adds that the Singapore delegation were shown Shanagolden’s dining rooms - which feature self-serve buffet style food service which she says aim to allow individuals to serve meals and drinks themselves and not have to adhere to a regimented meal time.
Singapore’s Saint Theresa’s Director of Nursing, Margaret Au says the organisation wanted to investigate innovative practices in delivering person-centred care.
“We’d like to look at different facilities and more importantly the model of care and learn about Montessori,” Ms Au says.
“It has been great [to see VMCH].
“As we drove in, it looked like a beautiful place.
“All the units that we have visited - high and low care - I think the way that is set up is good.
“There is an emphasis on individualised care which is great.”