First look – new dementia living opens at Montefiore Randwick

August 28, 2019 by Danielle Oppermann
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The next step for Montefiore’s dementia living is now underway at its Randwick Residential Care campus, with a complete renovation transforming the high-care Special Care Unit (SCU).

Dr Jacki ”Wesson and Janine Gross

The all-new interiors have been redesigned into several smaller, domestic-scale living, dining and kitchen areas with the feel of an elegant private home.

Watching residents relax in a comfortable lounge, or family members make tea at the stone-clad island in one of the two open kitchens, it’s clear that the welcoming new environment is already having an impact on the quality of life.

“We really want families to be involved, allowing residents to feel like they have continuity of their past life in terms of sharing mealtimes together and being with their loved ones,” explains Janine Grossman, Director of Professional Services.

The changes go deeper than the cosmetic improvements to the space, as SCU is also a testing ground for the new Montefiore Dementia Model (MDM) that will ultimately be extended across the organisation. Grossman has spent several years researching leading dementia living environments and best practice support, alongside on-staff Dementia Specialist Dr Jacki Wesson.

The MDM is a tailored application of this knowledge, combining domestic-scale living spaces, the latest behavioural support techniques, and new ‘homemaker’ staff who bridge traditional care, dining and lifestyle roles.

“The advantage of integrating this style of living within existing residential care campuses,” Grossman adds, “is the continued access to the breadth of Montefiore’s other leading nursing, clinical and allied health services and staff.”

According to Dr Wesson, the MDM is based around encouraging people with dementia to be more actively involved with familiar daily activities. “Home-based activities – cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry – are often familiar tasks that are relatively easy to participate in for people with cognitive impairment,” she says.

For Executive Care Manager of Randwick’s dementia care units Rebecca Saidman, the proof is in the daily interactions and feedback she’s already seeing in the new SCU.

“One family member told me recently that she’d never seen her mother so happy and settled. As these are our highest care residents, they spend the majority of their time here in SCU, so it’s wonderful to see them comfortable and enjoying their new surrounds.”

Resident Gary and Homemaker Barbara

 

Michelle Baskin and Hilda Gottlieb

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