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A new training package developed by the nation’s peak body representing people living with dementia is aiming to increase the understanding and empathy of hospital staff towards people with dementia when they are admitted to hospital.

Developed by Dementia Australia and funded by the Department of Social Services Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Program, the Insights into the Hospital Dementia Experience toolkit uses simulation and debriefing exercises to help hospital and Multi-Purpose Service staff deliver person-centred care by understanding what it’s like to have dementia.

“This training package enables staff to put themselves into the shoes of a person living with dementia, and provides greater understanding of how the condition might impact on an individual’s hospital experience,” Dementia Australia’s Executive Director of Client Services Susan McCarthy said.

“Through the use of simulation and debrief exercises, we aim to inspire participants to adopt a more sensitive, informed and considered practice leading to a more positive experience for the person living with dementia, their families and carers, as well as for staff who work with them.”

The training package focuses on the importance of person-centred care, understanding behavioural responses, and the impact being in hospital can have on a person living with dementia.

It was tested through pilot workshops with educators from across Local Health Districts of NSW where people living with dementia, their families and carers were invited to share their hospital experiences to ensure the final package captured the realities of a hospital or Multi-Purpose-Service stay for people with dementia.

The free training package includes a facilitator guide, participant handbook and simulation resource, and is available for download by educators from hospital or Multi-Purpose Service sites across Australia.

Download the training package: