University of Tasmania

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The Dementia Care Support Worker: enhancing care for people living with dementia in residential aged care

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 20:25 authored by Emma LeaEmma Lea, Andrew RobinsonAndrew Robinson, Kathleen DohertyKathleen Doherty, Hill, J
Over half of the residents in Australian aged care facilities have a diagnosis of dementia (AIHW, 2012). People living with dementia have relatively high care needs in domains of daily living and behavioural support, which escalate over time (AIHW, 2012). At the end of life, residents with dementia are likely to experience a high symptom burden and require skilled palliative care often for months before death (Mitchell et al., 2009). It is vital that aged care facility staff are equipped to meet the complexity of the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs of this growing client population (van der Steen et al., 2014), yet gaps have been identified in staff dementia knowledge (Eccleston et al., 2019; Robinson et al., 2014). To address this, the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre created the Bachelor of Dementia Care. This presentation reports on a 2-year project funded by the Masonic Centenary Medical Research Foundation, Wicking Centre and Masonic Care Tasmania to explore the development, implementation and evaluation of a new Dementia Care Support Worker role for a care worker with a Bachelor of Dementia Care. The purpose of this role is to enhance knowledge of dementia and dementia care among staff and family and to support residents living with dementia by providing evidence-based, person-centred care. The project involved development of the role, evaluation of its impact and generation of a framework for modelling new aged care roles which capitalise on the strengths of care worker graduates of the Bachelor of Dementia Care. Interviews with staff held as part of the process evaluation suggested that the role was seen to add value as it provided new opportunities to trial evidence-based approaches to care, enabled direct referral at early time points, and assisted in connecting staff with contemporary dementia education and practice.



Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Palliative Care Australia

Place of publication


Event title

2019 Tasmanian Palliative Care Conference

Event Venue

Hobart, Tasmania

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Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Nursing; Health related to ageing

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