WINCHESTER — Many questions arise when caring for people with dementia,: What do they understand? What causes them to become upset? What makes life more enjoyable?
Personal Support Workers (PSW) Jeannie Barkley and Heather Cronin are helping their colleagues at Dundas Manor find answers to these types of questions — and helping to provide better care for their residents.
Additional provincial funding has allowed Barkley and Cronin to take additional training to learn more about dementia and other behavioural challenges. As champions, they are sharing their expertise with
co-workers. “We spend one-on-one time with residents, learning more details about their lives and how the disease is affecting their understanding of their care,” explains Cronin. “That information is then
shared with the entire care team. The program benefits everyone.”
“This is their home,” adds Barkley. “We want to help alleviate their stress and meet their needs.”
It’s all about understanding the disease, being patient and accepting who the person is in the moment. “The person can’t change. We must do the changing and often the simplest things can make a
difference,” says Cronin.
They share examples of residents who exhibit behaviours of agitation, aggression or wandering. By learning more about their history and what causes them stress, plans can be put in place
to help. It can be as simple as reducing noise levels in certain rooms or putting safety supports in place for a resident who wants to walk up and down the hallways.
The Dundas Manor team also support families, learning about their concerns as well as hopes for their loved ones. “It’s very rewarding to know we can make a difference and make things better for a resident,” notes Barkley.
“I strongly support this program in long-term care,” sums up Administrator Susan Poirier. “The additional one-on-one support is so important to enhance the lives of our residents living with dementia
and to support their families and our staff.”
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