Significant year for aged, health and dementia care: 2015

Further development of a national approach to dementia support, "transformational change" in the aged care budget and a range of "firsts" and launches marked a significant 12 months for HammondCare and the people it supports.

Already the envy of other nations, Australia’s national approach to providing dementia support services was further strengthened with the appointment of HammondCare to operate the first phase of the Severe Behaviour Response Team program across the nation.

“As the number of Australians with dementia continues to rise and the complexity of their health needs increases, this further development in our national response is vital - both in terms of immediate assistance in a crisis and in building longer term capacity,” said HammondCare Chief Executive, Dr Stephen Judd.

Restorative care embedded in aged care

This will allow older people who would benefit from restorative care, to receive it through a short-term stay in residential care before returning home, rather than through admission to hospital.Described as the aged care measure delivering “transformational change”, the 2015-16 Federal Budget for the first time included restorative care as part of aged care planning ratios.

Hammond Chair of Positive Ageing, A/Prof Chris Poulos, “welcomed with open arms” the inclusion of restorative care in aged care planning ratios.

“It is vitally important that restorative care has a firm place in our aged care system, so embedding it in planning ratios is a great step forward.”  

Dogs 4 Dementia pilot underway

Director of the Dementia Centre, Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, said the Dogs 4 Dementia project was expected to bring significant benefits to people living with dementia at home with a carer.The first project in Australia to involve assistance dogs in supporting people with dementia living at home got underway in late 2015.

“Preliminary results from an overseas study show that the presence of the specially trained dogs can help support the person with dementia and carer, extending their capacity to live at home.”

The pilot is still seeking participants from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. 

Prescribing Picasso for better health

Programs are formally ‘prescribed’ by clinicians, to reinforce the importance of proactive intervention and individual participation. The artistic media used is targeted to address the health and wellness needs of older people, working alongside traditional health care and service provision. Meanwhile art participation has also featured as a way to support older people, with the successful start of Arts on Prescription. The innovative program puts the ‘arts’ at the centre of improved quality of life for vulnerable older people as well as challenging negative stereotypes associated with ageing and dementia.

Arts on Prescription continues in 2016 and is open for referrals. 

Myriad of launches and firsts

The past year saw a wide range of launches, openings and "firsts" for HammondCare across its services.

Braeside Hospital's new $1.1 million fresh food kitchen was officially opened in October after a remarkable journey of community cooperation: Read more NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner launched the latest edition of The Palliative Care Handbook in November: Read more.

Also in October, the first stage of HammondGrove Miranda (independent living) was officially opened featuring 38 apartments, four penthouses and 10 villas as other community facilities including a men’s shed.

A dental service embedded in aged care opened in September to meet the often overlooked dental needs of aged care and dementia residents:.

In the same month, Australasia’s first cancer-specific rehabilitation ward opened its doors at HammondCare’s Greenwich Hosptial, designed to give cancer survivors a sense of control over their daily life.

And the transfer to HammondCare of the Richard Geeves Centre in Turramurra was celebrated in April: Early in 2015, HammondAtHome was invited to take on the operation of two much-love dementia-specific day centres in Northern Sydney. The refreshed Parkhill Community on the grounds of Manly Hospital was “unveiled” in August.

Advocacy for health and aged care

HammondCare continued its commitment to promoting innovation and best practice care across the health and aged care sector in 2015 by contributing to a variety of official bodies, inquiries and reports. The diverse range included:

  • Perhaps overshadowing all of these activities was the passionate and committed care provided by HammondCare's 2700 staff to more than 3000 residents, clients and patients every day of the year, as part of the broader health and aged care sector in Australia, widely regarded as among the world's best. Dr Stephen Judd appointed to the Aged Care Quality Council.
  • Highlighting the gaping need for appropriate accommodation for younger people with dementia to a Senate inquiry.
  • The danger of a one size fits all approach to aged care was outlined to Alzheimer’s Australia’s Consumer Summit at Parliament House, Canberra.
  • Homeless older people are often overlooked in service provision despite being some of the most vulnerable in terms of housing security, according to HammondCare’s submission to the City of Sydney’s Housing Issues Paper.
  • Assisting in the development of a toolkit to help remove dying and death taboos for people with intellectual disability.
  • HammondCare’s Dementia Centre used a major media appearance to call on the aged care sector to “see the person” first in the provision of dementia care.
  • HammondCare’s General Manager of Residential Care, Angela Raguz, highlighted the inconsistent approach to dementia training for in nursing undergraduate courses.

Perhaps overshadowing all of these activities was the passionate and committed care provided by HammondCare's 2700 staff to more than 3000 residents, clients and patients every day of the year, as part of the broader health and aged care sector in Australia, widely regarded as among the world's best. Annual report.