Towards better mental health of people living with dementia in residential aged care: Co-design of a performance measurement tool to aid organisational governance
Mental health practices for people living with dementia in residential care are often poor, with an increased risk of prescribing medication for those who experience psychological symptoms and changed behaviours such as agitation. Additionally, psychological, social and person-centred care can be poorly implemented. The COVID pandemic has exacerbated existing concerns about the mental health of residents. However, there is currently no measure to monitor and promote mental health for people living with dementia in residential care.
This study aims to improve current practices and outcomes for people living with dementia in residential care by co-designing a performance measurement tool for use in care facilities. We will ask residents both with and without a diagnosis of dementia, family/care partners and residential care staff, about the key areas that need to be addressed and measured to improve mental health practices and outcomes. We will also seek to gain the consensus of aged care industry, consumer organisations, academics, and clinicians on the quality indicators to be included. We aim to co-design a Mental Health Tool for Residential Aged Care (MHICare Tool) that can eventually be rolled out across residential aged care facilities in Australia to improve mental health practices and outcomes for residents.
Dr Deborah Brooks is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Dementia & Neuro Mental Health Research Unit, Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland.