Dementia care

Goodwin is a leader in care for people with dementia, in the ACT and nationally. We continue to partner with a range of research organisations and peak bodies towards evolving care methods.

Our philosophy is quality of life for all. Our focus in on person-centred care – that is, treating the person as a valued individual who is far more than their diagnosis.

Our results have included the development of enabling environments, reduced stress and anxiety among dementia sufferers, and improved independence.

Our residents participate in the National Gallery of Australia’s Art and Dementia program, among a range of other activities.

Goodwin House Ainslie and Ralph Cartwright Centre (Monash) have dedicated Memory Support Units with appropriately trained staff, supported by qualified clinical teams.

Our leading dementia care

Enabling environments

Memory Support Units and Memory Support Gardens at Goodwin’s residential care facilities are especially designed to cater to people living with dementia, and their unique way of experiencing and translating their physical space, and to assist their quality of life. Our architecturally designed rooms, common areas and sensory gardens are based on continual evidence based research plus Goodwin’s 60+ years of experience in caring for people with Dementia.

This knowledge is transferred as much as possible to our purpose-built Day Clubs, which provide centre-based care for seniors in a safe, supportive and fun environment – as well as daytime respite for carers who have loved ones with Dementia.

Montessori philosophy

Goodwin was among the first aged care providers in Australia to adapt the successful Montessori philosophy to Dementia care for the elderly. Goodwin has chosen the philosophy of the Montessori methods for its rehabilitative approach.

Montessori therapy and rehabilitation is historically used in childhood education. In 2012, Goodwin initiated adaptation of Montessori to aged care, in liaison with Anne Kelly of Alzheimer’s Australia, who was researching the concept under a Churchill Fellowship.

Goodwin residents have benefited from Montessori by being engaged in meaningful roles and activities that are linked to their individual life stories. We take time to listen to residents’ stories and learn their interests – both from themselves and their families—and we incorporate that information into the residents’ rehabilitation.

The philosophy includes keeping families involved, and respecting that every resident has a valuable contribution to make to our community, and an ability to experience new things.

Staff and families have witnessed an increase in residents’ ability to problem solve, and self initiate socialisation with other residents.

Art and Dementia program

Goodwin residents participate in the National Gallery of Australia’s Art and Dementia program.

The Art and Dementia program provides people living with dementia with an opportunity to connect with the world in enriching ways.

Our residents and community clients can join weekly group visits to the National Gallery of Australia on the Goodwin buses, for a discussion-based tour of works of art with trained educators from the gallery. The tour provides intellectual stimulation and social inclusion. Participants are able to contribute knowledge, engage in interpretation, express emotions and recall memories.

Participation has seen our residents and clients develop an increase in wellbeing and quality of life.

Hear more about what this ground-breaking program can do, via a 2016 TED Talk by NGA’s Adriane Boag above.

Humour therapy program

Our humour therapy program, Just For Laughs harnesses the power of play to reduce agitation or depression in Dementia sufferers, and improve quality of life.

Goodwin’s own program was developed from experience on trials of similar programs through the Arts Health Institute (the Play Up program) and Alzheimer’s Australia. Goodwin has also assisted these peak bodies with research into quantifying the effects of humour therapy. Results show that residents were more likely to stay engaged with the “play” activities than other scheduled activities, and the program improved relationships between residents and staff.

View the fantastic video of the Play Up program at work here.

Partnerships in research

From 2015, Goodwin is hosting trials by ANU researcher Dr Moyra Mortby as part of a four-year study focused on person-centred care programs to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of Dementia, rather than turning to medication.

The joint venture with the ANU Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing (with research funding from Federal Government) will evaluate various care models to ascertain if they reduce the frequency and severity of Dementia symptoms, as well as reducing the use of anti-psychotic medication in residential care facilities.

The research will inform the development of a program which will provide the multi-disciplinary teams working within residential aged care facilities with the specialised training and skills needed to provide care for residents with behavioural problems, Dr Mortby said.