Dementia Centred

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By Henriette Laidlaw

June 7th, 2016

Viewing aged care differently

DSDC have been working with Life Care in Australia extensively at a strategic level to assist them with their goals to provide a holistic approach to the quality of life of those in their care. We asked Life Care to share with us their vision and how they see the involvement of DSDC assisting them in reaching their goals. 

At Life Care, we view aged care differently.  We believe in delivering a service model that ensures respect for our clients’ preferences and empowers them and their families to be involved in all aspects of their care.

This belief allows us to see beyond the conventional attitudes that surround ageing and strive to build a future which delivers an innovative and positive experience for each individual, especially for those with dementia.  

We passionately believe in a ‘Live Every Day’ experience and are invested in providing a holistic approach to overall wellbeing, rather than the traditional clinical approach. We want “to partner with people so they can embrace life and live it every day” based on what they can do, not on what they can no longer do.

Life Care’s commitment is to provide excellence in dementia services in South Australia and as part of this commitment sought out an organisation to partner with to help us achieve this excellence. After speaking with several potential partners both nationally and internationally a partnership was formed with the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at Stirling University, following a visit by CEO, Allen Candy and General Manager Innovation & Service Development, Deborah Muldoon. 

The DSDC was selected due to their research based programs, reputation, alignment with Life Care’s vision and importantly the ability to train Life Care’s own staff to run the programs to ensure that the organisation can be sustainable in showcasing excellence in dementia. 

Shirley Law, Head of Learning & Development at DSDC, has spent two weeks with some or our key staff including:

Training five Leadership Staff to run the “Impact of Ageing and Dementia” workshop, which will be delivered to all 680 staff as part of Life Care’s annual training this year and then to all new staff through our monthly Corporate Induction. We will also be delivering this workshop to all 250 Volunteers later in the year.

Six staff within our community and residential services have been trained to deliver the “Dementia in the Community“ workshop to carers looking after someone in the community with dementia, but also to families whose loved one is currently in one of our residential locations. The aim is to support families to understand what dementia is and how they can best support their loved one. 

Sixteen staff from across all of Life Cares services have been trained to be facilitators of the Best Practice in Dementia Care program and they will each take 8 of their colleagues through the six modules over the next six months. 

These facilitators are all carers, ENs or Community Coordinators and work with people with dementia on a daily basis. 

Their aim is to encourage people they work with to think about how they respond to someone with dementia and focus on a person-centered approach. We already do a fairly good job at managing this, but we are constantly asking ourselves how we can improve the way we give each client the best possible quality of life and live every day experience. 

The aim will be to roll the program out to another 100 staff in the first 6 months of 2017. 

Life Care Facilitators

We are already seeing a very positive response to the “Impact of Ageing and Dementia” workshops amongst staff, in particular after completing the simulation activities. Following the workshops there has been much enthusiasm across the organisation to also be involved in the first round of the Best Practice in Dementia Care program. 

Life Care’s commitment to the design and delivery of dementia care services continues to remain a focus and priority as we acknowledge this important aspect of the lives of aging South Australians. 

Service delivery is not the only aspect Life Care is addressing and has developed a Master Plan over the last two years ensuring that our property portfolio is redeveloped to support our strategic direction and allow us to deliver a “Live Every Day” experience to all of our clients. 

As part of the Master Plan, Life Care is currently in the process of undertaking the ambitious redevelopment of one of our residential facilities with a strong emphasis on ensuring that the whole building design is aged friendly with a specific focus on the additional requirements for people with dementia. 

Our Executive Team, Project Director and Architects, engaged by Life Care, have been working closely with Lesley Palmer and the DSDC Architect team to ensure that we are considering and implementing international best practice design throughout the redevelopment. 

Life Care is bringing together world’s best practice design principles and skilled staff to deliver premium services and dementia excellence in state-of-the-art accommodation options for South Australian’s as they age. 


DSDC has developed the Best Practice in Dementia Care programme to help you achieve national and regional care standards. The programme not only meets these standards but is accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and City & Guilds

DSDC offers in-house training. With associates and partners working across the UK and internationally DSDC can work quickly and flexibly, delivering training in our building or at a location of your choice.