Aged Care

Empowering dementia patients through holistic care model


A new program spearheaded by Monash University is empowering those with dementia to maintain independence and purposeful living.

The Living Well Together (LWT) care model, co-designed with aged care provider Baptcare, utilises a holistic Montessori approach tailored to dementia patients’ needs.

Launching at Baptcare’s Brookview Community, LWT focuses on resident choice, dignity and ability through environmental adaptations like children’s furniture, family rooms, and a café-style activities area. Vibrant art and signage foster engagement in tasks like making tea and gardening.

“This program focuses on what matters to each resident, and what gives them meaning and purpose,” says Baptcare CEO Geraldine Lannon.

LWT addresses five key domains identified by Monash researchers: person-centered care, dementia-friendly design, staff training, care coordination and clinical treatment. Rather than task-oriented care, it promotes patient agency in maintaining function and quality of life.

“Montessori focuses on allowing people to do things for themselves as much as possible,” explains lead researcher Associate Professor Darshini Ayton.

Frontline staff have embraced the participatory ethos. “This project is about promoting identity, independence and working alongside – doing with our residents, not for them,” says LWT Program Manager Susan Lyon.

Following launches at Brookview and Strathalan, LWT will extend across Baptcare’s 16 Victorian and Tasmanian aged care sites. “We will learn and refine, we will add and modify,” Professor Ayton says.

With its integrated, adaptable components, LWT aims to inspire holistic innovation in dementia care. “You can see the penny drop with staff. They’ve realised, ‘When I empower residents through purposeful activity tailored to their needs, they have better quality of life,” Professor Ayton notes. By focusing on abilities, not disabilities, Baptcare and Monash envision a new paradigm of dignified community living for those with cognitive decline.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

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