Book Review by Lauretta Kaldor – 31 January 2015

Developing Excellent Care for people living with Dementia

Author: Caroline Baker



This book is directed at all carers-nurses, managers, general staff and activity coordinators in aged care for dementia residents. The author is in the process of training all staff in Dementia care units in the UK in the 4 Seasons Health Care  their 250 special dementia units. They have developed the PEARL program (Positively Enriching and Enhancing Residents Lives). The main theory behind this program is the concept of person-centred care. The program has been very successful based on their current evaluations.

I felt challenged when reading this book as to whether do we pay lip service to the much touted concept of person-centred care?

I particularly like this very readable book because it explains in very understandable language what person-centred care really is and uses case histories and scenarios to demonstrate the difference between the older medical model of care and how person-centred care can really be successful despite concerns that person- centred care requires many more staff to achieve its goals. The whole concept is a change from a task orientated approach to general care to one that will provide pleasure to the resident and relieve the frustration that does occur from unmet needs.

One of the suggestions is the use of a life history about each resident that is readable and is

 a work in progress so the care person can know as much as possible about a resident – more than just the basic family and past life experiences. An a4 page of documentation written in un-clinical terms that tells you about their preferences, likes, dislikes and particular needs, may give an indication to character traits and behaviours that are negative indicating unmet needs and frustration. If all staff has a good understanding of each resident they can work together as a team providing the best outcome for that resident. One idea I would really adopt is having a short history (approved by the resident) indicating these preferences for any person working with or visiting that resident with a picture (maybe when younger) displayed on their bedroom entrance.

Every aspect of care is covered in chapters such as- Making the most of meal times, reducing distressed reactions and Reviewing the use of anti-psychotic medication.

Staff is encouraged to support each other and provide feedback on adapting this model and celebrating their success.

This book would be very useful to activity staff that has difficulty working with all care staff to provide excellent lifestyle outcomes for their dementia residents.

I commend it to all care staff, diversional therapists and activity coordinators and educators who need to see that aged care is not just for or to but integrated with the preferences and lifestyle needs of each resident living with dementia. In Australia as consumer- directed care where wellness and reablement is being encouraged in the aged care sector, this book has many common sense ideas to offer all care staff.

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