National Workshop Programme, News and Updates with Steph – 6 July 2016

ImageHandler (14)

Experiencing the colder weather where you are? Why not head to sunny Cairns QLD to thaw out? That is the next workshop on our agenda at the end of July. Check out your options and register now! Remember costs associated with professional development in the area in which you are employed are tax deductable!

Our Shepparton Vic, and Port Broughton SA, held last month were a great success. A big thank you to Chris Sutton and to Darren Robinson who facilitated at these workshops. (See the reports below).

The flyers for Port Macquarie, NSW and Warrnambool Vic are on the website and the Gold Coast QLD will be out soon so plan ahead to secure your PD points for membership early. Remember if you’d like to present at a workshop on a topic you are interested in or passionate about you can gain all your PD points in one go!

Report for Shepparton DTA Workshop Held June 3rd 2016
The Connections at The Kidstown Complex, again proved to be an ideal location for the Shepparton DTA Workshop. 18 participants travelled from neighboring towns & as far away as Melbourne to take part in a day of learning and networking. A great, easily accessed venue, beautiful surrounds and delicious food all added to the day. We were also being greeted by barista coffee to start the day, which was lovely for participates who had traveled distances.
A range of local speakers provided new insights and opportunities for learning.
• Goulburn Valley Hospice Care Service. Sharon Bover – Clinical Care Coordinator, discussed end of life care needs and what DT’s can do to contribute to a quality end of life experience.
• Parkinson’s Vic – Sheree Ambrosine – Movement Disorder Nurse. Gave an informative overview of the condition and how the disease can impact on leisure choices & a person’s participation in activities.
• Ethnic Council Of Victoria – Chris Hazelamn – Manager of Shepparton Ethnic Council. discussed Shepparton changing cultural diversity. Locally settled refugee Thon, from Sudan gave a very informative and moving account of his journey.
• Build VR Sally Darling – gave participates an opportunity to experience Virtual Reality technology and its applications in aged care. This technology was available to trial over the lunch period, and I am sure went on my “wish lists”.
• Skills Training Australia representative Elsa Demetriou informed members on how to upgrade their Professional Qualifications & it was pleasing to hear members keen to increase their knowledge.

The day concluded with two DTA members Karen and Frenz presenting Takeaway Café activities as well as members sharing knowledge in networking discussions.
Local workshops provide a great opportunity for members to establish networks in their own area. Savings in travel time and costs are certainly a plus for participates. We would like to thank Stephania Bejma, DTA’s Education Coordinator for all her hard work putting this workshop together for us, not easy to do from a distance of Sydney to Shepparton.

Chris Sutton
Goulburn Valley Network Group

Port Brougton SA workshop June 17th 2016
The Barunga Village again proved a great venue for our regional South Australia workshop and DTA board member Darren Robinson, facilitator on the day, uncovered some interesting presenters as far afield as New Zealand and the USA. Expanding our options by using technology and Skype we were able to talk to the American Therapeutic Recreational Association President Dr. Dawn De Vries regarding the practice of recreational therapy in the United States, where recreational therapists practice in a variety of healthcare and community settings utilizing standards of practice and the Therapeutic Recreation Process (assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and documentation) including a brief overview of the U.S. healthcare system-via government and private insurance. Louise DeWolf, Dementia Care Matters coordinator at Barunga discussed their Butterfly Homes Project – a program focused on injecting humanness and compassion back into care rather than the focus on task allocation, targets and efficiencies- creating a culture conducive to person-centred care -just beautiful. Paula-Jean Hayes from Parkinson’s SA lead us through understanding the condition of Parkinson’s- its symptoms, impact, progression, and treatments, and how recreational activities can enhance life with this disorder. Orquidea Tamayo DT from NZ continued expanding our access to best practice models through international agencies with another Skype presentation- it really does bring the world to our doorstep.
Stacy Meschede, Volunteer Coordinator at Barunga Village discussed some interesting volunteer information while Darren recalled his recent DTA visit to Japan. The morning also saw DTA President Louise Absalom in attendance so over all a well received and attended regional workshop. Thanks Darren and Louise and everyone one else there on the day for contributing to its success.

DTA’s educational suite of workshops has recently expanded:

CST Workshop
DTA offer a one-day workshop on the successful implementation of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for people with mild to moderate dementia. Learn the system that has had proven benefits on cognition, social interaction and general wellbeing that is revolutionising the outcomes of dementia diagnosis. On completion you will have the tools to set up and run the initial and ongoing programs, accommodating the specific interests of your group, as well as how to measure and evaluate the outcomes. Ongoing support is available in the setting up and running of your group as needed. Contact for more information.

Leisure and Lifestyle in Practice
An individualised workshop specifically formulated for your facility, staff and or client base. When your team needs direction we revisit the basics and build on their knowledge including assessment and communication skills, presentation, engagement and inclusion, evaluation of the program and a multitude of activity ideas that can inspire. Need a specific outcome addressed? A program of continuous improvement can be tailored to your needs. Contact DTA today to discuss designing a training session specifically for you.

I’m looking forward to meeting you at one of our workshops and I’m always looking for new ideas and information! If you come across anything that you have found useful and relevant I am more than happy to investigate getting it to a workshop near you!
Please email me at if you would like to contribute, suggest a presenter, present a Takeaway CAFÉ or would like to facilitate a workshop! I’m waiting to hear from you!

The quote this month-“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault~

Steph Bejma
DTA National Education Coordinator

Diversional Therapy Australia – Port Broughton Workshop June 17th 2016
On June the 17th, the Barunga Village Port Broughton DTA Workshop was held in South Australia. This was to be a very special occasion, as part of the program we had 2 international presenters.

First up was Dr Dawn DeVries who is the President of ATRA which is the ‘American Therapeutic Recreation Association’. Dr Devries is from Grand Rapids in Michigan, USA. She is an Assistant Professor in Therapeutic Recreation at Grand Valley State University.

Dr DeVries spoke of the practice of recreational therapy in the United States, where recreational therapists practice in a variety of healthcare and community settings utilizing standards of practice and the Therapeutic Recreation process which includes assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation and documentation. She also gave a brief overview of the US health system including the role of the government and private health insurance system.

Dr DeVries’ presentation was very insightful giving us back here in Australia a new and better understanding of how Therapeutic Recreation is implemented in the US and how Recreational Therapists face very similar challenges in the US to what Diversional Therapists do here in Australia.

The next presenter was Louise Dewolf who is the new ‘Butterfly Homes Coordinator at Barunga Village in South Australia. Louise spoke about the ‘Dementia Care Matters-Butterfly Homes project, which is a program focused on injecting passion and humanness back into the care of Dementia Clients/Residents, rather than the normal aged care focus on task orientated practices, targets and efficiencies implemented by the staff in aged care facilities, creating a culture conducive to person centered care. The Dementia Care Matters – Butterfly Homes program is the brainchild of Dr David Sheard from the UK. Louise said Barunga Homes was one of 3 homes in Australia chosen by the Dementia Care Matters team in the UK, to run a yearlong trial in their Dementia/ Memory Support Unit setting. She acknowledged that it will be a big culture change at the facility for staff and volunteers but there was a high hope that at the end of the trial, the residents in particular, and the staff will be benefiting from the new approach to the care that the residents receive.

Next up was Paula-Jean Hayes from Parkinson’s SA.
Paula-Jean , (PJ) gave us a an excellent understanding of the disease that is Parkinson’s, it’s symptoms, impact, progression and treatments. She also spoke of how activities can improve and enhance the lives of Parkinson’s sufferers. (This topic is very close to my heart as my father has Parkinson’s).

Orquidea Tamayo Mortera was our other international guest speaker for the workshop who spoke to us via Skype.
Orquidea who is a native of Mexico, is a Diversional Therapy Team leader, was there with 2 of her Diversional Therapy team members as well, they were Karina Hyde who works as the Activities Lead and Florence Smith who is the Activities Coordinator for Sarah Selwyn House which is part of the hospital that is part of Selwyn Village in Auckland. Orquidea, Karina and Florence gave us a wonderful insight into the facility that is Selwyn Village. They told us how they implement their activity programs amongst their 600 residents in the 26 acre facility. They spoke of some of the difficulties they face each day and even how they cater for the special needs of their memory support unit residents and their native Mauri residents. We posed many questions to Orquidea and her team during the presentation, some of the answers left us in ore and slightly envious of the incredible facility that is Selwyn Village.

Our last main presenter for the day was Stacey Meschede who is the Volunteer Coordinator at Barunga Village in Port Broughton.
Stacey spoke of how we as Diversional Therapists/Activities professionals, all need volunteers and how we appreciate the skills and life experience they bring to any organization. She also spoke of how we can enhance the lives of our residents by acquiring volunteers with special skills to cater for a person centered care approach in the care of our residents.

Stacey also spoke of how sometimes there is a need to think slightly outside the square when hoping to recruit new volunteers. Quite often you ask a volunteer to come and volunteer at your facility for your facilities benefit, but you may need to emphasize that the volunteers would be there at the facility for most importantly, the residents benefit.
DTA President Louise Absalom was able to attend for a short part of the day as she is on special leave at the moment from her family’s business, and gave a short talk on what the DTA Board has been doing on its member’s behalf.

I was able to give a short presentation about our DTA Study Tour to Japan and at the end of the day, Carlene Schmitke gave a short presentation for the Take-away Café of her writing therapy program that she has implemented at her facility and Chris Yuen gave a short talk on his I-Pod Music therapy program that he uses at his facility.
I would like to say a very special thank you as the facilitator of the Port Broughton Workshop, to all the presenters and all the attendees on the day. Sometimes it can be difficult to get presenters especially in rural settings, so it is very much appreciated by myself and DTA for all the effort that was put in by those people.

Darren Robinson
International Liaison Board Member DTA
Port Broughton Workshop Facilitator.

Scroll to Top