A dedicated Mental Health Registered Nurse will work to meet the emotional needs of all residents, and provide psychosocial interventions for residents with dementia and mental illness.
Christadelphian Aged Care is helping to improve standards of emotional support and mental health care across the organisation.
Sinead Hayes is a trained Mental Health Registered Nurse, and has joined the organisation to develop psychosocial interventions and responsive behaviour management for all residents requiring emotional support, with a priority towards vulnerable groups such as those with dementia.
“People with dementia often have altered perceptions, hallucinations or delusions, and I educate staff and provide strategies to ensure residents’ dignity and well-being is maintained,” she said.
“It is looking at what triggers certain behaviours and working to understand what will meet the person’s needs safely and effectively. It’s about being proactive not reactive.”
Understanding the specific needs of each resident was vital in helping improve their emotional state, and to be able to advocate on behalf of residents with diminished capacity and decision-making, she said.
“It will reduce anxiety and agitation in the long run. Getting to know your resident is imperative. Understanding their background and leisure pursuits helps immensely to deescalate responsive behaviours.
“Using this to liaise with leisure and lifestyle staff can help to reduce incidences of anxiety, which is commonly a first stage of escalating behaviour, Sinead said.
She also works with residents with mental health issues such as depression and schizophrenia, and has found aged care a very rewarding environment.
“I can actively see that something may or may not be helping. We don’t use as many pharmaceutical interventions here, it’s about person-centred interventions, and residents can often communicate back to you whether they feel like it’s working or not, and that’s been lovely,” Sinead said.