Innovative Australian model of dementia care goes global.
Created to inspire participants to implement the award winning ‘Spark of Life’ approach in their own aged care facilities, Dementia Care Australia recently launched an international certificate course in Perth.
Consisting of a comprehensive three week program, the course qualified participants as master practitioners in the Spark of Life. Attracting strong interest, health care leaders came from around the world, including Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Denmark.
Developed and facilitated by Jane Verity and Hilary Lee, the program was created to shift focus from the traditional medical care model to the emotional and spiritual well being of a person with dementia.
Dementia Care Australia is the organisation behind Spark of Life, which offers a systematic approach to dementia.
“The internationally recognised approach provides practical and sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges facing the person with dementia, their carers and aged care,” says Lee.
In 2009 the Spark of Life approach was awarded the IAHSA Excellence in Ageing Services Award.
“The educational modules covered a wide range of topics including theoretical foundations, the key to Spark of Life, advanced communication techniques and research and evaluation. Presentations and workshops with group discussions enabled participants to connect with the philosophy and discover how they could implement it as a practical approach,” says Lee.
Jan Clark, executive care manager at Maurice Zeffert Home, Perth, WA says the course was of great value to her. “It was completely unique in its style of learning and positive, supportive atmosphere. The information was expansive, the experiential learning very effective, and I will never forget it because of these qualities,” she says.
“Participants commented that these hands-on experiences had enabled them to connect with their inner strengths, discovering new ways to communicate, and valuable techniques to bring the appriach into every facet of their life. New friendships were forged and a strong network of leaders of change was created,” adds Lee.
This experience represented the beginning of new relationships. High level discussions of culture change were facilitated with the participants, who brought their own diverse expertise and experience. It became apparent to all that the approach provides a universal approach that is relevant across boundaries of cultures, languages and professions, Lee says.
“A number of participants gained support and sponsorship from their local governments and philanthropists, including those from Singapore, Denmark and Germany. The four Singaporean participants reported back to the health minister about their experience and the value of the course. These newly forged relationships with key health care practitioners promises exciting prospects for the future of Spark of Life and the care of people with dementia throughout the world,” says Lee.
Barbara Falconer, the owner of Malio House in New Zealand says it was a “totally inspiring” three weeks. “I am so excited about empowering my staff in further implementation of the Spark of Life. This has been the most amazing and profound experience,” she says.
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