Yesterday I was fortunate to be asked to a lunch meeting with one of the leading international dementia care trailblazers in the world, David Sheard.
David is the Founder of the UK based ‘Dementia Care Matters’ which is a company that is offering a different way to caring for people with dementia in nursing homes.
Amazingly, he is considered controversial and ‘out there’ by many in the aged care industry, but when you sit with the man and just listen to him talk he is simply passionate about people and how they are treated. This really resonated with me and together we talked dementia for two hours without hardly taking a breath. (We almost forgot to eat our delicious meal at ‘Sean’s Kitchen’ Adelaide Casino).
Our meeting was simply a lesson in life and stripping things back to the core values of all that is good about being a person. I hung off every word that was said hoping to absorb more knowledge and learn from one of the best in the world. We talked about environment, feelings, living in the moment and so much more. I feel really privileged to be given an insight into an alternative way of doing dementia care…..but should it be the new mainstream, and is it the new ‘black’?
Key aspects of the care model include:
• Developing small household living for people with dementia in a family-like environment
• Removing institutional features such as staff wearing uniforms, medicine trolleys, and rigid ‘task-based’ routines
• Enabling greater freedom for people living in the home to do more for themselves and feel less restricted.
It has been running for over 20 years and it all made sense to me and with over 100 care homes adopting his ‘Butterfly House’ model of care (including 3 sites in Australia) it is obviously working and really needs to be given strong consideration. I worry that mainstream aged care is doing things the same way they always have, and possibly using methods that were developed many decades ago.
Love him or loathe him, David Sheard is a passionate ‘down to earth’ guy that actually CARES…..isn’t that what we all want in a nursing home?…genuine care?….certainly worth consideration.
It was also an absolute pleasure to meet Peter Priednieks (Director of Learning) and spend time with Andrew Ramsey (CEO Hands On SA). A great time was had by all.