Dementia Australia has developed a new immersive workshop experience that uses virtual reality as a learning tool.
The three-hour A Day in the Life – Mealtime workshop is a unique experience aimed at professionals working in aged care homes. Nestle Health Science is sponsoring the delivery of this workshop to 20 of its clients across Australia.
Utilising virtual reality and avatar technology, A Day in the Life explores the multifactorial influence of food and mealtimes on quality of life for people living with dementia. The learning outcomes from A Day in the Life have been designed to respond to the documented evidence of high-impact or high-prevalence risk of poor hydration and nutrition in residents living with dementia. Managing hydration and nutrition is essential for a consumer’s quality of life and relates to the new Aged Care Quality Standards.
The focus on the mealtime experience has been selected as the first in the series of learning scenarios, because maintaining good nutrition can be challenging for people living with dementia. Some of the changes a person living with dementia may experience include forgetting to eat or drink, loss of ability to recognise food, loss of appetite and, at the later stages, reduced ability to chew and swallow.
As a result, care staff should consider how to provide a quality mealtime experience for a person living with dementia. A Day in the Life showcases the experience and impact that living with dementia can have and attempts to provoke discussion and initiate cultural change when it comes to mealtimes. There is an opportunity to do more than just serve nutritious food – mealtimes can be used to connect people, evoke memories and promote inclusivity.
The workshop enables carers to experience mealtime through the eyes of Ted, a person living with dementia, and care worker Priah. Participants have the opportunity to explore strategies for improving mealtime and nutritional outcomes for people living with dementia.
Denise Edwards, Project Manager, Service Engagement and Innovation team at Blue Care, who took part in a recent workshop in Queensland said feedback from both the workshops was extremely positive.
“The experience was a great opportunity to use cutting edge Avatar technology to reflect on current practice by walking in the shoes of a person living with dementia which aligns with Blue Care’s Tailor Made Service Model,” Ms. Edwards said.
“On behalf of all our participants, we would like to thank Nestle and Dementia Australia for providing this experience and look forward to more opportunities to use this technology in other areas of Queensland.”
A Day in the Life has been designed with input from leading industry chef Tibor Paller, and dementia experts from the Centre for Dementia Learning. The workshop encourages and facilitates discussion amongst the whole team to determine unique requirements, and develop ideas for future practice improvement.
The A Day in the Life – Mealtime experience will launch later this year. For more information, please contact Dementia Australia’s Centre for Dementia Learning team on 1300 DEMENTIA (1300 336 368) or email firstname.lastname@example.org