An innovative program that supports carers of people with dementia to develop their skills, access support services and maintain their wellbeing has been named a finalist in the 2015 HESTA Aged Care Awards.
The Stronger Carers Program run by BaptistCare NSW and ACT in the homes of carers has supported over 300 families across metropolitan Sydney.
BaptistCare dementia consultant and project manager Marleina Fahey said the 10-week program involves an in-house coaching model using skilled carer coaches who work directly with the carer.
“The first six weeks of the program consist of in-home sessions between a carer and their carer coach. The carer coach discusses carer expectations, goals and care strategies. Goals for the person with dementia are also established,” she said.
“During the final four weeks, the coach follows up with the carer via phone or email to ensure they are supported or referred to other services, as appropriate.”
An evaluation of the program by Alzheimer’s Australia NSW found it was an effective way to improve carer wellbeing and increase knowledge.
Ms Fahey said many services and supports target the person with dementia rather than a family member providing care.
The Stronger Carers Program was funded by the Australian Government under the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing grants.
If successful, the $10, 000 prize money would be used to design and develop a new program ‘Stronger Carers – Peer Support’ that would involve training volunteers in the model.
The award winners will be announced on 27 August.