Bill Thomas Visits Down Under in December 2010.
Dr Bill Thomas (sponsored by Alzheimer's Australia, Curtin University, ACHSM and Eden in Oz & NZ) visited Australia for a brief 5 days in early December 2010. His focus was on continuing the conversation regarding the way that society in general, aged care and healthcare providers specifically can provide a resident directed environment for our aged persons in residential and community care. How we do this is a challenge to most operators in the industry.
Over the course of the week, Bill spoke to more than 100 people at Curtin University, 100+ industry influencers and decision makers for a business Breakfast on the Tuesday as well as a further 80+ for a half day workshop on the Tuesday afterrnoon. More than 500 delegtes at the HACC conference on the Wednesday heard Bill speak and then in Albany a further 100 people participated in another workshop. In attending and participating in a number of Bill's presentations, it was heartening to see that many people were open to the new paradigm where the care environments that we aim to provide our elders are promoting a resident directed focus, that aims to eliminate the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom.
For those people who see the Eden Alternative as not being a viable option due to funding needs, we would recommend that they speak with those providers in Australia and New Zealand who are implementing this philosophy of resident directed care. The Eden Alternative does not cost any more money to implement as it's about changing your culture to a care environment that empowers staff and residents in creating a life with more meaning. It's a better use of resources, those which already exist.
To quote Jason Burton, from Alzheimers Australia, "We still have so much work to do to show others the possibilities of what aged care could and should be. Well done to the communities of Mary Chester Centre and Hawthorn House for creating such wonderful care environments and proving its not about the $ís but about attitude."
There's always something that stimulates discussion and responses when Bill challenges the way the providers of healthcare and aged services view how they are providing care to our older Australians.
Read more about Bill Thomas's visit as reported in the local media through the "aged care needs new approach" in the Western Australian and "Respect your Elders" in the Weekend West Australian.