Launching a new model for living well with dementia

New Dementia model

Montefiore’s new model for dementia living will tailor international best practice and smaller-scale environments with our leading support services.

Since the pioneering Dutch dementia village De Hogewyk launched nearly a decade ago, international best practice has been moving towards smaller-scale, more homelike environments for people living with dementia in residential care. Research has shown benefits to include a better quality of life, lower hospitalisation rates and lower emergency department presentations (Dyer et al, 2018).

With a purpose-built facility at Randwick on the horizon, the organisation is forging ahead now with a new Montefiore Dementia Model (MDM) for our existing residential care units. This will provide the best support for people with dementia to live well with choice, dignity and wellbeing.

“With the MDM, we’re taking a new approach that represents the best of both worlds,” explains Director of Professional Services Janine Grossman, who has attended the International Dementia Design School and visited leading care providers locally and overseas researching the best way forward. “We’re taking the more intimate, small-scale living environments of the Dutch model, and overlaying the leading interdisciplinary clinical and allied health care that Montefiore is known for.”

Ultimately, the new MDM will see residents live in renovated, home-like neighbourhoods of 10-20 people, with an emphasis on engagement in everyday activities. Also key will be the choice and flexibility of routines that are already hallmarks of Montefiore’s Philosophy of Living. Under the guidance of Janine and newly appointed Dementia Specialist & Research Coordinator Dr Jacki Wesson, the Randwick Special Care Unit (SCU) has commenced the transition led by Executive Care Manager Lara Boss. This pilot program will then see the MDM extend to Hunters Hill and other relevant services. Residents’ families are key to the process, and have been included on the main working party, already in progress.

Under the MDM, residents will be invited to actively participate in household activities – with the support of a new staff ‘homemaker’ role – including cooking, doing laundry, exercise and other leisure activities. “We don’t just want SCU to look more like home, we want it to feel that way, too,” adds Lara. “A warm, comfortable space for people to live well with dementia.”

Ahead of more extensive renovations, communal spaces in SCU are already being adapted to create smaller sitting areas. As Jacki explains: “Environment can have a big impact for people – making spaces more intimate promotes healthy conversation and positive interaction.”

Learn more about our specialist dementia care.