Resthaven continues its partnership with Flinders University to further develop the iSupport program, led by Flinders Caring Futures Institute researchers.
The Institute has been awarded $1.4 million from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Dementia and Ageing Care Mission, for the next stage of development of the iSupport program.
The Partnership in iSupport Program involves providing carers of people living with dementia with a ‘link worker’ who can assist the carer to navigate and access services. The Program is designed to equip aged care workers with skills and knowledge to better help people living with dementia.
Resthaven Executive Manager Community Services, Sue McKechnie, has taken the professional lead for Resthaven, working with Flinders University Professor, Lily Xiao on the program.
‘Carers will also have access to the Australian iSupport for Dementia program, an online resource led by Prof Xiao’s team, helping them to develop coping skills, self-care and assertiveness when seeking help from others,’ says Sue.
‘Carers experience stress, poorer health and poor quality of life, and this can contribute to the person they care for being permanently admitted to a nursing home earlier than they would if greater support for them existed.’
‘Having more support and education opportunities for carers of people with dementia benefits both the carer and the person with dementia.’
‘The expectation is that iSupport will both assist people living with dementia, and improve the mental health and wellbeing of their carers.’
‘During the trial of the Partnership in iSupport Program, family carers who were engaged with Resthaven Community Respite Services tested a set of on online education modules. The aim was to educate the carers in better understanding what dementia is, how it impacts on a person, and how carers can better support both themselves and the person they care for.’
‘The online learning module topics included general information on dementia, information relating to being a family carer, how carers can look after themselves and care for the person with dementia, and how to address specific symptoms of dementia.’
‘Resthaven is excited to participate in the next stage of this evidence-based consumer research that aims to prepare family and informal carers to actively participate in the development of care plans of people with dementia to ensure they receive high quality services that meet their needs.’
‘The person with dementia will also experience benefits including improved quality of life, reduced dementia related symptoms, and unplanned hospital visits.’
‘We look forward to taking the iSupport program to the next stage, in partnership with Professor Xiao.’
Resthaven Dementia Educator, Gillian Schulze, was involved in the initial pilot of the iSupport program. Gillian says, ‘As Dementia Educator, I am constantly working towards further accelerating societal and staff knowledge surrounding dementia, and the impact of dementia on the person and their carer’s.’