Bupa Mildura among the first to experience VR dementia learning to improve quality of life

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Friday 10 February 2017

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s ground-breaking, mobile, virtual reality workshop, Enabling EDIE, will be undertaken at Bupa Mildura, with their team among the first in Australia to use the unique dementia learning application.

Enabling EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience, pronounced Eddie) uses virtual reality technology, including Samsung Gear VR headsets, to create a 360-degree immersive scenario that enables participants to experience first-hand the challenges faced by people living with dementia.

Enabling EDIE is the next generation in the use of serious games technology developed by Dementia Australia Vic that started in 2013 with the launch of the world-first, multi-award winning, Virtual Dementia Experience™ workshops available in Parkville.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic Enabling EDIE facilitator Andrew Italia said, “Enabling EDIE provides a unique opportunity for health and aged care professionals anywhere in Australia to access this innovative program.

“In fact, the program is attracting interest internationally, including from Japan, the UK and the US.

“We’ll use the virtual reality technology to explore what it may feel like to experience dementia. This will help participants to build empathy, identify new ways of working in partnership with people living with dementia, as well as their families, to enable their residents to live a better quality of life.

“When we’re providing support to people with dementia we tend to focus on what the person can’t do, rather than empowering them to continue to lead fulfilling lives,” Mr Italia said.

The inspiration behind Enabling EDIE is to encourage professional carers to remain engaged with the person living with dementia, to celebrate their strengths and abilities and to provide stimulating care experiences.

“We are excited to see Bupa Mildura embracing this new educational experience. This additional perspective and understanding of dementia will be of significant benefit to their residents who are living with dementia,” Mr Italia said.

Bupa Mildura Clinical Manager Karli Cox believes this is a fantastic tool to use in conjunction with the home’s Person First programs to develop the empathy, which is core to their Person First approach to care which focuses on the individual rather than their diagnosis.

“When I heard about this new training through Alzheimer’s Australia Vic I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for our team members, especially in a country home. They have lots of experience working with people who are living with dementia but the insight that will come from this is so unique that it will really support the quality of care we already offer,” Ms Cox said.

The Enabling EDIE workshop to be undertaken by Bupa Mildura uses Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headsets that immerse the user into scenarios, simulating what it might be like for a person to live with dementia.  The comprehensive training program for health and aged care sector professionals aims to develop their dementia practice and ultimately improve the quality of life of people living with dementia in their care.

This program is also available to family carers of people living with dementia.

Course times are available at http://bit.ly/enablingediecourses.

For information about all the workshops available contact Alzheimer’s Australia Vic by emailing [email protected] or calling 03 9816 5708.

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Media contacts:

Christine Bolt 03 9816 5772 / 0400 004 553 / [email protected]

Stephanie Puls 03 9816 5745 / 0427 757 434 / [email protected]

Notes to media

·           When writing or talking about dementia, please include our free National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 - a telephone information and support service available across Australia.

·           The words used to talk about dementia can have a significant impact on how people with dementia are viewed and treated in our community. Please read our Dementia Language Guidelines that have been developed by people living with dementia and carers.


About Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

In Victoria almost 97,000 people are living with dementia. This figure is projected to increase to 386,000 by 2050. Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the charity and peak body representing people, of all ages, with all forms of dementia in Victoria. We provide specialised dementia information, education and support services. Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.fightdementia.org.au/vic

About Bupa

Bupa’s purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives. A leading healthcare group, we provide aged care services and health insurance, as well as complementary healthcare services through Bupa Dental Corporation, Bupa Optical, Bupa Medical Visa Services, Bupa Health Dialog, Bupa Wellness and Bupa Medical GP Clinics. Bupa has more than 70 aged care homes across Australia, caring for more approximately 6,500 people.

Bupa focuses on providing sustainable healthcare solutions that represent real value, and on leading the industry in the promotion of preventative health and wellness. Bupa’s Australian and New Zealand businesses are part of the international Bupa Group, which cares for more than 29 million people in over 190 countries.