Aurrum Aged Care partners with the not-for-profit organisation Planetree Alliance to bring the best clinical, emotional and intellectual person centred care to our residents. Planetree partners with hospitals and other health organisations to transform organisational culture and improve resident experience. In line with Planetree philosophies, Aurrum has dedicated Memory Support Units at three of our eight operating facilities including Healesville Victoria, Reservoir Victoria and Erina NSW. Each facility takes great pride in caring for residents with cognitive impairment or different diagnoses of dementia, while working to maintain their independence and dignity in a fulfilling and caring environment.
Aurrum engages with industry leaders to ensure our team receives innovative and well researched training. Alzheimer’s Australia and Aurrum have jointly built a family focused training module and design for the Aurrum memory support units. Caroline Mwania, National Quality and Education Director, has ongoing discussions with Alzheimer’s Australia to ensure Aurrum lifestyle and education programs are in line with evidence based, best practise Australian Aged Care Quality Agency standards.
At Aurrum Erina we have two Memory Support Units surrounded by lush gardens that can each accommodate 20 residents, the largest of all the Aurrum facilities. Highly qualified dementia specific trained staff work with our resident’s daily, providing exceptional clinical care. Michelle Bottle, Erina Facility Manager, says “staff consistently strive to maintain a level of independence where possible with residents, and encourage family members to attend and participate in activities regularly.”
Aurrum’s Memory Support Units provide a variety of programs to meet the needs of the residents. Jane Wright, Leisure and Lifestyle Manager, ensures our programs include art therapy and music therapy, to improve our resident’s lives and memory as well as decrease agitation and depression. Residents feel calmer, happier and more engaged when music therapy is provided regularly. Our care staff enjoy listening to and singing along with our residents to their favourite songs of the past and present. Introducing instruments and dancing is a wonderful way to engage residents and make daily activities fun. Our music therapy program is continually reviewed by a Registered Music Therapist, as well as our Lifestyle staff and Facility Manager.
Other lifestyle activities residents participate in include a weekly coffee club to stay social and active in their community, a great exercise program (including falls prevention, ways to retain muscle strength and balance, and general wellbeing), and ‘Paddock to Plate’ (picking vegetables from the garden and preparing them in the kitchen to be served as a meal for everyone). It’s important to involve residents and let them choose their activities for the day. Aurrum follows a Montessori model of learning with interaction to prompt independence and individuality of our residents.
A lack of social engagement can be common among residents with dementia. Aurrum Reservoir are currently trialling Matilda, a social robot who can provide residents with news and weather updates, recognise human faces, dance/sing and detect emotions. Residents greatly enjoy interacting with Matilda which has demonstrated social, emotional and visual engagement, as she has become increasingly popular among the residents in our Memory Support Unit. In the area of communication-type robots, Paro the Seal has been introduced to all of our facilities. Paro uses facial recognition and has the capacity to remember residents’ faces and its environment. Paro has been very popular with our residents; with him they are able to experience a greater connection and emotional attachment. Paro brings a sense of humour and associated feelings of caring for a pet, which encourages residents to feel light-hearted and happy.
Providing the best quality of life to our residents through delivering clinical excellence and emotionally engaging services, while reducing social isolation and depression are daily goals Aurrum is proud to strive for and achieve with our residents in our Memory Support Units.