An internationally recognised aged care researcher will address the Better Practice Conference in Melbourne on the theme of person-centred care.

Professor John Swinton is a registered mental nurse, a hospital chaplain, an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and a Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at Aberdeen University.

“When a person with dementia begins to lose all their faculties that society seems to assume makes up a person, how can we deliver person-centred care if they are no longer a ‘person’?” Professor Swinton said.

“Specialists focus on their field of expertise and many approaches focus on one aspect of the resident.

“We need to remember that every resident is a whole person and this is the key to person-centred care.”

Professor Swinton founded the Centre for the Study of Spirituality and Health five years ago to help researchers and practitioners work together on creative projects around health and spirituality.

“It seeks to enable a transformation within current health and social care practices and policies that will move caring services, including religious communities, towards a more compassionate, health oriented and genuinely person-centred approach to the practice of caring,” Professor Swinton said.

“I am particularly interested in mental health issues both as they relate to the spiritual dimensions of care offered by religious communities as well as the spiritual care offered by established ‘secular’ mental health services.”

Better Practice Melbourne will be held at The Sebel and Citigate Albert Park on 10-11 September.

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