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Unlocking the potential of volunteers in aged residential facilities to support residents with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia: a pilot feasibility study

Prof Daniel O'Connor
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution Monash University
Project Description

This project explored the presence and attitudes of volunteers in aged care facilities. We interviewed management, lifestyle coordinators and volunteers. We found that current volunteers in our region (southeast Melbourne) were widely available and experienced. Facilities were well able to find and keep volunteers, but volunteers mostly assisted with the current activities program or pursued their own interests. Hence, activities were not always tailored to residents’ interests and skills. It also appeared that individuals with more advanced dementia and associated behavioral symptoms, who would benefit most from one-on-one interaction, were often overlooked.

Future projects should explore what the effects are of volunteers assisting in the implementation of non-pharmacological interventions with residents in aged care facilities.

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