Speaker Interview with Meagan Hartley, Senior Occupational Therapist, Dementia Care , Acure Care of the Elderly (ACE) Unit, Queensland Health GCHHS
Patient centred care is so crucial when discussing the care of people living with dementia. In our latest installment of the National Dementia Conference speaker interview series, we talk to Meagan Hartley from Robina Hospital on the Gold Coast about how, where and why real patient centred care is needed. We’re looking forward to her passionate perspective on the panel discussion about improving transitions between residential aged care facilities and acute care facilities.
What is your current role and what does this entail?
Senior Occupational Therapist within the Acute Care of the Elderly Unit at Robina Hospital, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. This role entails completion of comprehensive geriatric assessments and interventions within an acute hospital environment that supports person centred care, on ward engagement and complex discharge planning.
What will you be speaking about at the National Dementia Conference this year?
Some of the challenges faced when supporting person centred care and person focused discharge planning within a medical model, and task driven environment. I will be discussing how our team has been supporting, and advocating for people living well with dementia, along with educating staff on dementia and ways to encourage engagement.
Why is it important to discuss how we can improve transitions between residential aged care facilities and acute care facilities in the care of people living with dementia?
At the core of all transitions should be the person, however within these two systems, hospital and residential aged care facilities, the person’s desires, needs and wants seem to get lost. We stop asking who the person is and what does the person want/need/desire? Instead, we seem to be driven by the system, the tasks and the processes rather than focusing on the person who is using the services. This targeted focus is even more necessary when a person living with dementia may need someone to speak on his or her behalf. Being taken away from your familiar environment, your home, and placed into a noisy, sterile, unrecognisable environment, often without the care support of those who are memorable to the person, can be a disastrously frightening experience. Equally, the person may then be returned to their home, without due consideration of the person’s concerns or the provision of adequate information on their ongoing care supports.
What are you most looking forward to at the National Dementia Conference?
Hearing about ways in which I can improve my practice to support and care for people living with dementia. I’m excited to see the variety of topics open for discussion and the range of health professionals involved in, what I feel, are necessary conversations about improving care for people living with dementia.
Meagan will be speaking at the National Dementia Conference on Tuesday 15th May on a panel discussion exploring how to improve transitions between residential aged care facilities and acute care facilities.