In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dementia Australia has developed virtual classroom education for aged care workers, to equip staff with strategies and skills to provide quality care for people living with dementia.

The courses, accessible from anywhere in Australia, are suitable for everyone involved in providing support for people living with dementia in residential aged care and community care.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the virtual classrooms were available for everyone working in aged care anywhere across the country, particularly those working in regional areas where travel distances may limit access to quality education programs.

“We know through feedback from managers in the aged care industry that ease of accessibility to virtual classrooms supports them in their work,” Ms McCabe said.

“Roster and shift management can be less challenging as staff do not need to go offsite or travel to and from sessions.

“With the sessions online staff from multiple sites are able to join the sessions together which stimulates the sharing of knowledge and experience and ultimately working better together as a team.”

The three Virtual Classrooms, ‘Engaging and connecting with people living with dementia through COVID-19’, ‘Supporting behaviour changes during COVID-19 restrictions’ and ‘Understanding dementia’ address the unique challenges related to dementia and COVID-19. 

The online education sessions are interactive and allow active participation. They can be delivered simultaneously to participants in different locations, addressing the challenge of delivering education while maintaining social distancing, isolation or even quarantine.  

Some feedback from participants in recent sessions:

  • “This opens the door for so many people to more easily access training.”
  • “It’s good that the education is coming to us – we don’t need travel as much.”
  • “A two hour session and we’re done and we can go back to work.”
  • “It is good to be able to connect and do that type of interactive classroom situation – you’re really participating so it’s engaging.”
  • “It was lovely to engage with everyone in the group and hear everyone’s ideas.”

“When staff are empowered to provide quality care for people living with dementia the outcomes are positive for all involved,” Ms McCabe said.

“Staff are more likely to be engaged and have higher levels of job satisfaction; managers are better able to focus on building their teams and positive workplace cultures and most importantly the person living with dementia benefits from being supported by a dementia-educated and inspired aged care workforce.

“Now more than ever, with the lack of family or friend visitors, the role that aged care teams play is even more significant in supporting meaningful engagement for people living with dementia. 

“Adapting to COVID-19 restrictions for all of us has been a challenge, particularly so for people living with dementia especially if their usual routine and their ability to connect with others has been impacted.

“A person-centred approach is the focus of all our courses where we encourage staff to get to know the person – to understand their needs, to learn about their dementia, the level of their abilities and to be flexible in their approach.”

Dementia Australia’s Centre for Dementia Learning is a trusted, reliable provider of education and support for the aged care workforce.

A special launch offer is available until 31 October 2020 – $500 per Virtual Classroom for a group of up to 25 staff that can be delivered anytime from date of booking until 31 December 2020. After the offer closes the cost will be $985 for a group of up to 25.

For bookings and enquiries click here.

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